Self-care is not Selfish, it’s Sustainable

Why you should stop thinking self care is selfish

The talk of eco-anxiety and eco-burnout has been floating around in the sustainable bubble for a while now. In Sweden, research showed that 80 percent of young women suffered from eco-anxiety.

During the safety information on a flight, they tell us to put on our own oxygen mask before helping others. If we do not put our own oxygen mask on first, we risk passing out trying to help others and that just leads to no good for anyone involved. This holds true in other parts of life as well.

For us to lead a fulfilling and sustainable life, and to have energy and time to give to others and to important causes, we need to function well ourselves. So if we want to advocate and inspire towards a more sustainable and ethical world we need to make sure we set out time for rest and recharge.

Self-care looks different for everyone and there is no one size fits all. For some, self-care is a quiet undisturbed day (or even just an hour) at home, away from family or kids. For others, it might be a raging girls night out or a dinner with family. The important thing is to prioritize small things and actions that make YOU feel good. It’s worth noting that needing or wanting to take a break from your “regular” life doesn’t mean you are a bad person. You can love your spouse, child, parent or friend and still crave and need time away to recharge. So don’t ever feel guilty for it.

Taking care of yourself is not selfish, and if anyone ever implies that it is they are wrong. Anxiety, burnout, and depression do not make people feel better nor makes them more productive or efficient. We are generally at our most productive when we are energized and motivated, and when our health is manageable. So if we want to save the world, we need to take care of ourselves too.

Self-care is not selfish. It is a necessity.

September Challenge: Self Care

Fall is around the corner and while the end of summer marks a new school year and a feeling of new beginnings, it also means that darker and colder times are arriving. So, for this reason, I will be doing #selfcareseptember as my monthly challenge for September, as a way of easing into the times to come.

If you want to join along I’ll be focusing on one thing daily to treat myself to new experiences and love. However, self-care is about doing what feels right for you, so if you feel like it make up your own calendar or list of things you want to do or focus on. Nothing is too big or small!

Self care calendar

An eco-friendly reading practice?

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Reading in itself is a great hobby. It requires no electricity (except maybe a lamp) or energy to perform compared to other types of media like TV or the Internet. However, making books requires paper, and paper comes from trees. Paper is a renewable resource thanks to the fact that trees can regrow, but keeping your resource usage in mind is always a good idea. Especially today when more forests are being cut down to give room for crops and cattle. So always buying new books might not be a very eco-friendly choice.

Additionally, if you try to live a more minimalist or conscious life buying new books all the time will result in an overcrowded bookshelf and home. And a cluttered home, gives a cluttered mind, and we don’t want that, do we?

Reading that doesn’t require chopping down trees

So should we just stop reading? Of course not! Reading is a great way of gaining knowledge and amusement. So if you want a more minimalist and eco-friendly reading practice, below are a few tips.

Library

As a child, I would spend hours in the library getting lost in the rows filled with books. A habit I recently got back into because it’s great! It’s (more or less) free and it has more books than I could possibly ever read, no risk of getting bored. If you have the privilege of having a library where you live, definitely check it out.

Borrow from friends

Another free option is to simply borrow from friends and family! You probably know someone or several people who have at least 10+ books at home. Why not ask if you can borrow a few the next time you visit? Apart from being free and resource smart, it might give you something to discuss the next time you meet!

Swap

Swapping has become commonplace in fashion and clothing, but honestly, it’s even better for books. Most of the time we only read something once or twice, so why should it take up space on your shelves? Why not organize a small book swap with your colleagues or your friends’ group?

Thrift

Second hand first applies as much to books as it does any other item. By buying second hand you are using resources that have already been used. And while it’s not free, it’s definitely more affordable than investing in new.

Audiobook subscription

Nowadays there are several subscription services where you can pay a monthly fee and get access to hundreds of audiobooks. Granted that you won’t be reading it yourself, this can be a great option if you are an auditive person, also if you drive a lot or just have little energy/possibility to read yourself.

E-readers

This one requires quite some resources to produce (batteries and plastic) but if you are a big reader it can be worth the investment. Both money-wise and for the planet. You might even be able to score one-second hand! The nice thing about an e-reader is if you travel a lot or read on public transport as it allows you to bring a library of books in a few hundred grams.

So, if you are one of those people who love the feel of a physical book in your hands, realize that there are a lot of options out there for you. You don’t have to get an e-reader (nor should you if you don’t like it).

And, if you really do love a filled bookshelf and it gives your life more meaning, continue by all means. But maybe you could decrease it just a bit? Buying only the ones’ that you really want and for the rest don’t. Book swap with friends, or go to the library. If you really like it afterwards you can always make the splurge then and it won’t have cost you an extra dime!

Simple plastic-free swaps at home

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It can be tempting to switch out every single plastic item in your home when you see organized Instagram pics of nice pantries and bathrooms, but my first rule of sustainability: Use what you have. Don’t spend your money and time on switching out every plastic product in your home thinking it’s the most sustainable thing, because it’s not. Buying new will always require new resources and production.

The best way of transitioning to a more plastic-free lifestyle is slowly over time. Only replace your old plastic products when they are no longer fit for use or when you have found a way to mindfully dispose of it (I’m not talking recycling here, but rather gifting it to someone who loves plastic Tupperware and has no problem using it…).

Therefore, the simplest swaps are going to be those kinds of products that you need to switch every few months or so:

Dish brush

Instead of buying another plastic one, next time you need a new one, opt for a plastic-free version. I really like this kind that has detachable heads you can switch out.

Sponge

Instead of a regular sponge to wash dishes or clean around the house, you can upgrade to a loofa. There are also other alternatives made from coconut, cotton and similar fibers.

Glass containers

Switching out all your plastic containers for glass ones might seem like something of a must when you scroll through Pinterest, but there is no need for that. Just start by saving the glass jars you buy jam and stuff in. Wash them and peel off the labels and soon enough you’ll have a great selection of glass containers without having to pay anything extra for it!

Solid bars

Solid hand soap and dish soap are easy swaps. The only thing it requires is a good soap dish (I just have a thin slice of loofa) so that it dries off in between use and doesn’t go bad. Today you can find solid bars for almost anything so if you want to go full out you could also go for laundry bars, shampoo bars, and conditioner bars.

Do you have any favorite simple swaps for a more plastic-free home?

How to minimize your waste when you don’t have the time or money to go zero waste

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Let’s be honest, it takes quite a lot of time to live a zero-waste lifestyle or even just a plastic-free one. If you don’t have the privilege of living a life that allows you that time or you simply live in a small area without the option of shopping at a bulk store it can feel discouraging to see perfect zero-wasters line up their glass jars online.

But… you don’t need to be perfect or have access to a package-free bulk store to make positive changes. There are several small things you can still do in your life to minimize the packaging you use.

Buy only what you need

And nothing more than that. About one-third of food is wasted globally and this is contributing to climate change as food waste that in many countries end up in landfill which emits methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas (just like carbon dioxide) which contributes to warming the planet.

Outdoor markets

Such as farmers markets. Many cities have these daily or weekly during certain seasons or all year round. They often display produce out in the open so if you bring your own produce bags they will most often let you use them. One thing I’ve noticed on my local market is that later in the day when the vendors are about to close they will sell the produce cheaper as to get rid of it.

Bring own bags

This was quickly mentioned above, but just bringing your own bags for produce and for shopping will save loads of plastic bags that are both unnecessary and risk ending up in nature and in our oceans. Also, you don’t have to buy expensive macramé produce bags, just by bringing an old plastic bag you have at home will save the planet from more plastic!

Buy big packs

This might seem contradictory of number one, but it’s not necessarily. For pantry staples or hygiene products you use a lot and you know will keep for long it can be wise to invest in the biggest packaging. When you buy a big pack you will save a bit of packaging compared to having to buy three small packages. It will also generally save you money. Before you buy a big pack, just be sure you can eat them on time and store them safe from pest animals. Food waste is generally a worse problem than packaging…

Invest in some reusables

By investing in and using reusable cloths/pads/cutlery/whatever instead of disposable ones. You can save a lot of resources AND money. The tricky part is you need to have the money to spend, to begin with. A menstrual cup and/or reusable cloth pads is one of the easiest and best saves. Feminine hygiene products are used often and cost a lot. A menstrual cup will cost you around 30€ and last you for years, saving you both money and the earth from tampons that won’t dispose of. As for glass jars and bottles, instead of buying new ones, save the jam jars and smoothie bottles you get from the grocery store and just reuse them instead!

Why should we strive for zero waste?

The reason to avoid packaging is that it requires emissions and resources both to produce and to recycle. In addition, many live in areas without proper recycling and some materials, like styrofoam and soft plastics, are not recyclable or are of such low quality that it can only be recycled very few times. Plastic is a non-renewable resource which means that sooner or later we will run out of it, so I try to minimize plastic first and foremost.

Don’t feel bad if you do not have the option of choosing the (often more expensive) package-free option. Going zero-waste, in my opinion, is something to engage in after of simultaneously as you increase your bigger impact posts like transport, food, and housing.

How to Build a Capsule

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The reasons for having a capsule closet are many, and differ from person to person. Some do it to make their lives easier and save time (less choice makes the morning routine easier), to downsize and create more space or maybe even to cultivate a more sustainable and slow closet. These are also some of the perks with a capsule closet, things like freeing up space and time.

So what is the connection between a capsule closet and sustainable fashion. Well, a capsule closet means you buy less and use more of what you already own.

So how do you get started? You need to start by thinking about a few things.

Your Life

When building a capsule one has to have one’s lifestyle in mind. There is no one size fits all when it comes to capsules. This includes the actual size of the closet.

Do you live in a colder climate or where temps change often? Maybe you need an extra sweater or two. Do you live in a rainy region, then it might be reasonable to include rain clothes.

Do you have a strict dress code at work? Or could you manage with your “regular” closet?

Your capsule needs to be built around and suited to your needs and life, so take some time to think about what situations you do find yourself in.

Your Preferences

You’re the one who will be wearing the clothes, so just like with all other purchases you have to assess what you like. Finding your personal style is one of the keys to a longlasting closet and capsule.

Don’t like pants? Then don’t build a capsule around them. Hate dresses? Then leave them out.

This also includes things like color schemes and the excluding or including of prints. What type of shoes and clothes you feel most comfortable in. Those things that you tend to grab after on days when all feels boring.

Your Closet

How many pieces of clothing do you own? Are you used to circulating between 15 pairs of shoes and you love them all? Well, then I say it’s totally fine to continue with it.

Also, do the clothes fit together? Do you have that one odd shirt that only goes with that one skirt you don’t really like and those boots that make your feet bleed? Maybe it’s not a great piece to keep. At least not a piece to include in a capsule.

No number is right or wrong, so you just have to decide for yourself what seems viable to you.

Tips & Tricks

  • The second step to your capsule closet is usually a purge. Get rid of things you have not worn in a year (or pledge to wear it), things that do not fit or that are damaged beyond repair. If there are items you are not sure of and you do not feel ready to part with, put them in a box and leave it for a few months. If you do not miss it after those months you might be ready to let them go.
  • I like to do a (2:1) ratio of tops and bottoms since I usually get more wears out of bottoms compared to tops.
  • Think about how often you are willing to do laundry. If you are fine with washing your clothes every week you could get by with a pretty small capsule. If you’re like me and you dread laundry time, then maybe it’s wise to up the number of items, especially tops, so you can stretch the laundry dates a bit more.

Inspiration?

Some great accounts to follow that post content about capsule closets and sustainable style are:

Anuschka Rees

Wonder Wardrobe

Style Bee

Un-fancy

 

Ready to get your capsule together?

June: Capsule Challenge

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So, summer is here, don’t really know how or when that happened, but I’m excited. My June challenge is a capsule challenge and initially, I had planned on a 30×30 challenge. This means I would have 30 garments to use for all of June. But then I kinda joined a May30x30 on Instagram, so it didn’t really feel like a challenge anymore.

I asked around for some tips and some people thought I should continue for another 30 days, which would have been a fun idea but the weather had changed a bit too much. Some other fun tips were to stick to only one kind of pattern or color, but if you know me you know I barely wear any color or print so that would have been reeeeally tough.

Finally, I settled on the challenge. I would first do a 10×10 (ten garments for ten days) and then a 6×6 (the more extreme of six items in six days). However, I will not be counting shoes this time just to give myself some kind of freedom.

Have you done any capsule challenges? What are your thoughts on them?