BLOG

Quick Sustainability Tips for the Home

DSC06051

I’m super passionate about sustainability, to the point where I cringe when the waiter gives me a plastic straw. Why is that necessary?! With that being said, I want others to live their life, and I don’t want to impose with my “I’m better than you because I live more sustainably” attitude. However, I also know that our planet needs people to care if we want to continue living in this beautiful, precious environment. We simply cannot continue living the way we are today with the rate at which the population is growing.

So, here are my quick tips to living more sustainably in the home.

1. Invest in Sustainable Products 

Expect to pay more for more sustainable product alternatives, until our government policies promote more sustainable living. For example, the laundry soap in a biodegradable container is likely going to cost you more than the (terrible) Tide detergent, as this is likely more expensive for the supplier to source and manufacture, not to mention all the unpronounceable chemicals washing into the ocean!

Plastic originally became so popular because it’s cheap and durable. So durable, in fact, that it can take 450 years to biodegrade after you drink your bubble tea from it in 5 minutes.

Side note: Bali recently became the first city to outlaw single-use plastics – how cool!

This first tip is more of a mindset shift, but hugely important. I feel good when I vote with my dollar by purchasing sustainable products as often as possible.

2. Have the Recycle Bin be Larger than the Trashcan

A large recycle bin can serve as a visual reminder to recycle more and throw away less. Although 75% of America’s waste is recyclable, we only recycle around 30% of it ¹ – how sad! If you notice that your small trash can is getting full quickly, see if it’s full of recyclable materials. A large portion of household waste could actually be recycled, if done in the right way.

3. Use Reusable Mesh Produce Bags when Grocery Shopping 

Hopefully, you’re already using your cloth grocery bags each time you go to the store, but what about your produce bags? Even Whole Foods still has plastic produce bags – why?!

Ironically, I actually bought my reusable produce bags at my local Whole Foods, but you can also buy them on Amazon here. Another added bonus is that mesh bags allow your produce to breathe in your fridge, unlike suffocating plastic (can you say slimy mushrooms?).

4. Use Reusable Beeswax Wraps for Food Saving

I personally use etee wraps, and love em’! They come in a variety of different sizes and colors to help you better organize your leftovers. I’ve also cut some of the bigger ones into smaller sizes to use as lids on jars and small reusable containers when I can’t find the lid (lol).

5. Use Bamboo-Based & Compostable Tissues and Toilet Paper 

I personally buy Aria brand toilet paper from Amazon. My only critique on this toilet paper is that it seems to be a bit lint-y, in that it creates a small amount of dust/lint each time you pull some off. Over time, the area around the toilet paper looks like it’s covered in dust, so I give it a wipe down more frequently, which probably isn’t a bad thing! As far as tissues, I use the Caboo brand tissues from Amazon.

6. Use Biodegradable Toothbrushes

It’s recommended that you change your toothbrush every three months. I grew up using plastic toothbrushes with different Disney princesses on them, and, sadly, I’m sure those are still in perfect condition at the bottom of a landfill somewhere.

If you prefer using manual toothbrushes like me, I recommend Bamboo Addicts biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes, which are completely biodegradable. They also have charcoal bristles for teeth whitening! This company was founded by my wonderful and dear friends, Ash and Jeremy, who I fully support and trust.

If you use a rechargeable, vibrating toothbrush, I cannot speak to sustainable options, but I’d hope they have an eco-friendly one somewhere out there!

7. Reduce Meat Intake 

Animal farming / livestock production accounts for 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions and is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction ¹ . Even simply decreasing your weekly meat intake can make a huge difference, but I have personally chosen to eat a completely plant-based. Plus, I feel great!

 

I hope these tips were useful and insightful!

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can live a more sustainable life, I highly encourage checking out Google’s Your Plan, Your Planet tool, which helps you calculate your individual carbon footprint and shares insights on how you can live more sustainably in the home.

If you have any other tips you want to suggest, please drop them in the comments below – I’d love to hear and adopt them myself!

 

Love,

Chanelle

Tips to Digital Wellbeing – Mindfully Disconnecting

We live in a world surrounded by electronics, screens, beeps, pings, notifications, and devices all created to make our lives “easier.” FOMO has become a common acronym we use to describe the new-age fear of being disconnected (Fear of Missing Out).

Sometimes though, our devices can cause more harm than good. I will openly admit that there have been many days that I’ve spent way too much time in this alternate reality and wondered where my day went.

Don’t get me wrong. I love social media and believe there are many advantages that outweigh the disadvantages; but that’s if and only if the necessary boundaries are set. My personal time sucker is with social media, Instagram specifically, but yours may be any number of things that require you to use or look at a device.

But there is hope for improvement. I’m so excited about the different features coming out that help in monitoring screen time, tracking usage, and reminding you when it’s time to put the phone down.

Today, I’m sharing my tips and tricks for how you can find balance in time spent using electronics, or, as Google coined it, Digital Wellbeing.

1. Download the Digital Wellbeing app to help you track your habits

This app provides you with some pretty astonishing insights.

  • how many times you’ve unlocked your phone today
  • how many notifications your phone has shown you (which you can change in your phone’s settings)
  • a graphical representation of time spent by app

It also provides you with ideas for how you can disconnect more, many of which I have adopted.

2. Create and implement a morning routine

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? If the answer is check your phone or turn on the morning news, this may be unintentionally enhancing your unconscious feeling of FOMO – What did you miss out on while you were sleeping?

Instead, try doing something that helps your mind and body wake up peacefully. This might be brewing a cup of coffee, walking your dog (my favorite), meditating, reading, or showering and brushing your teeth.

3. When you go to sleep, put your phone in the other room

You can buy an alarm clock to replace your phone’s alarm.

Having your phone in the other room when you lie down in bed will eliminate the risk of you picking up the phone to check one more thing or scrolling one more time.

Additionally, there is some concern around the electromagnetic field / radiation that mobile devices produce. There isn’t any concrete evidence to support this concern currently, but I don’t think it’s something to ignore completely. Certain types of frequencies (x-ray, for example) have been proved to be carcinogenic, and that’s not something I personally want next to my head all night long.

4. Have your phone remind you when it’s time to start winding down for bed

I have my Android phone set to remind me to wind down at 9:15 pm each week day.

It’s best if you can avoid looking at any screen 1-2 hours before you go to bed. Humans’ natural circadian rhythm, which is from sunrise to sunset, tells your body how to operate. This includes your metabolism, appetite, and mood. Artificial light at night can confuse your body and mess with its rhythm. Your mind also needs time to enter a restful mode before actually falling asleep. You wouldn’t expect to run a lap around the track and then get in bed and fall asleep right away, right? It works similarly with your mind. The endless stimulus from our pocket computers wind up our brains as oppose to winding them down.

5. Enable “Do Not Disturb” on your phone for sleeping hours

I’ve enabled my Android phone to automatically turn on the Do Not Disturb feature as soon as it tells me it’s time to start winding down at 9:15 pm. You can customize this feature to your individual preferences, however I’ve set mine so that my phone only notifies me if any of my starred contacts text or call me. Everyone else is silenced until my alarm goes off the next morning.

6. Enable “Night Light” on your phone from sunset to sunrise

I’ve set my Android phone to turn on “Night Light” from sunset to sunrise, which gives the screen an amber-colored filter that’s not as disturbing to your brain as the brighter day-time screen. So, if you have to look at your phone for some reason during the wind down period, it’s not a blaring bright screen.

Side note: I’ve also changed my screen from blue light to pink light at all times, as it’s easier on and healthier for the eyes.

7. Limit your notifications to only absolutely necessary

Studies show that device notifications (even just the sound) can actually increase stress and anxiety levels. You may not think it’s terribly distracting, but the truth is that it’s likely stealing your attention away from whatever you’re actively engaged in each time the screen lights up and demands your eyes or dings and derails your train of thought.

Which notifications are absolutely necessary? For me, it’s texts, phone calls, and (some) emails. I have trained by Gmail account (through built-in machine learning) to filter out most spam emails and only notify me of legitimate emails to my primary inbox. I’ve been playing with the idea of limiting notifications to just phone calls and texts, as 1 or 2 spam emails seem to still sneak in daily that I don’t want to be notified about, but I’m not completely there quite yet.

Is it crucial for you to be notified each time someone likes your Instagram post or comments on your Facebook post? I can’t answer this question for you, but, for me, I know it’s definitely not.

8. Enable “Shh” feature (if you have a Google Pixel)

This feature automatically turns your phone on Do Not Disturb by simply setting your phone face-down on a flat surface. I’ve found this super useful when I’m running into an important meeting or a movie theatre. If you have a Pixel, definitely utilize this!

9 & 10. Discover and embrace JOMO

This step deserves two, as it’s the most important of them all.

JOMO, in opposition to FOMO, is the Joy of Missing Out.

As challenging as it may feel to pull away from the digital world, it’s so important to carve out time daily to intentionally disconnect so that you may be fully present in your environment. Rather than looking at what others are doing on social media or watching world news, I prefer to find relationships and activities that make my life feel vibrant and joyful in a way that’s unique to me. I encourage you to give it a try! There’s no comparison, no fear that someone else is having more fun than you, because you’re completely satisfied in this moment right here, right now.

 

I hope this list is useful to help you disconnect easily and effectively.

 

Remember to be kind to yourself. If you set an intention to disconnect and end up scrolling past your wind down time, don’t be too hard on yourself. Balance in everything. Keep making it an intention, giving your best effort, and don’t fret the rest.

 

If you have any more tips that I didn’t cover, I’d love to hear them and try them out myself! Feel free to drop them in the comments below and I’ll let you know how they work for me.

 

love,

 

Chanelle

Before Bed Yin Poses

About two years ago, I woke up with a kinked neck. It was so tight that I couldn’t look to my left or right more than a few inches. I initially thought I’d slept wrong and the problem would fix itself in a day or two. Weeks later, I was still in terrible pain. I tried massage, chiropractic work, and physical therapy, all of which helped some but never fully healed my neck.

Soon after my physical therapy work, I learned the importance of giving my body daily attention in the form of physical exercises to help keep it healthy and limber. Our bodies were not made to sit in front of a computer screen for 4+ hours a day, which many adults do (myself included). So, to make up for the lack of movement, it’s important to make sure we’re clearing out the fuzz (if you don’t know what I mean by that, I highly suggest watching this 5 minute video on fascia and stretching). Our bodies were made to be gathering food, walking lots, and climbing trees, not sitting all. dang. day.

I try and do these yin poses before I go to bed each night. When I do, I feel an incredible improvement in any neck or back pain I’m experiencing and much more all-around mobility.

Let’s get into it!

 

1. Child’s Pose. Five breaths. Presence.

DSC02495

2. Cat & Cow

Cow – Exaggeratedly arch your back and gaze upward, opening up the abdominal wall.

DSC02497

Cat – Exaggeratedly round back, opening up the shoulder blades, gaze toward mat.

DSC02498

Repeat three times, following your breath.

3. Gentle Hip Swings

Exaggeratedly push hips out to the left side of mat, then circle around to the right side of mat.

DSC02504DSC02506

Repeat slowly three times. Breathe.

4. Lizard Pose

Place right foot at top right edge of mat. Stay here if this feels like enough on your hip flexor. Option to drop down onto forearms on the inside of right foot. Five breaths.

DSC02508

5. King Pigeon Modification

Bend left knee slowly as you bring it towards body and reach back with your right arm to catch left toes. This is a deep hip flexor and quad stretch, so take it slow. Three breaths.

DSC02511

6. Gentle Calf & Hamstring Stretch

Release left toes. Turn body back towards top of mat. Straighten right leg as you lean over right knee. Lean with your chest. Five breaths.

DSC02514

7. (Repeat Steps 4-6 on Left Side)

DSC02517DSC02519DSC02521

8. Child’s Pose Side Stretch

Walk hands out off the right side of your mat. Place your right hand on top of your left. Relax into your left side body. Breathe.

DSC02522

Switch sides and repeat.

DSC02523

9. Hip Flexor Release

Lay on tummy with right cheek on the mat and arms out in cactus shape. Bend knees and gently drop feet over to the right, then gently over to the left. Repeat this slowly for ten breaths. Lift your head and place your left cheek on the mat. Repeat slowly for ten breaths.

DSC02524DSC02525

10. From tummy, bend right knee and slowly bring right foot towards the ground near the outside of the left hip. If comfortable, place right foot flat on the floor. 5 breaths.

DSC02526

Switch sides. 5 breaths.

DSC02527

11. Plow Pose / Halasana

(If you have neck problems, skip this pose)

Roll onto your back gently and softly hug each of your knees into chest to release lower back.

DSC02532

From your back, begin to lift both legs into the air while curling lower back off the mat. Bring elbows by sides and place heel of hands on lower back for support. You should be creating a shelf support for your body with the weight on your arms and upper back/neck. The full posture is to have your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your toes (you’ll see I’m not all the way straight, so listen to your body and only go as feels good).

DSC02536

Slowly begin to hinge at the hips as toes release towards the top of mat. If toes touch the top of the mat – great! If not, great! Just hold and breathe for five breaths.

DSC02537

Slowwwwly bring legs back up and, with control, lower all the way down to the mat.

12. Bridge Pose

Walk heels in slightly towards your butt and, with knees pointing straight forward, lift hips towards sky. This opposing pose counteracts what we just did in Plow pose, and should feel releasing and relaxing.

DSC02547

Lower your hips down slowly.

Option to repeat steps 11 and 12 once more.

13. Hug Knees to Chest

Rock from side to side, massaging lower back.

DSC02549

14. Supta Baddha Konasana (laying down butterfly)

Lie down onto back and place bottoms of feet together. Five breaths.

DSC02552

15. Savasana

Lie down on back with all limbs completely relaxed, palms facing slightly upward. This is the final resting pose.

DSC02556

 

 

Enjoy a restful night of sleep 🙂

 

If you try this out, I’d love to hear from you (feedback, thoughts, comments, questions)! Feel free to drop a comment below.

 

Love,

Chanelle