WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

Rituals

Simple Sensory Meditation ~ From Well Being Book

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Mindfulness & Meditation, Well Being Book, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

A simple meditative technique to reduce stress, align concentration and balance emotions is to use your senses to redirect your attention. This is a versatile practice, and will be different almost every time you practise it, because it is likely that scents, sights and noises will change from one day to the next. Use this technique on mornings when you find it particularly hard to focus, or feel overwhelmed with challenging thoughts, either first thing in the morning or just before starting work, to shift and reset your focus.

* Sensory awareness meditation may be more powerful in an unfamiliar setting, so if you can,
try to change your place of practice from time to time. (It is best to practise with your eyes closed, as your senses may be influenced by things you see or you may find it hard to focus on senses other than sight if there are many visual distractions).


Find a comfortable seated position and rest your hands on your knees, in your lap or by your side.

With eyes closed, bring your awareness to the rhythm of your breath. Notice how each inhalation and exhalation feels and notice where in the body you can feel the breath most. Breathe naturally with your attention on your breath until you come to a steady and comfortable breath.

Begin to bring your awareness to each of your five senses. Focus on one sense at a time, noticing how it feels and how it is stimulated in the present moment. Start with whichever sense naturally grabs your attention.

Hearing will likely catch your attention first. Notice the sounds within or around you, without judgement or hostility. They may be the sounds of your own breathing or internal movements. They may be sounds made by others close by or far way, by people you know or don’t know. They may be familiar or unfamiliar sounds. They may be clear or indistinguishable. Sit for a few minutes, acknowledging and accepting the sounds around you, and if any thoughts arise, simply use the sounds around you to refocus the breath.

If you find your attention drifting persistently, turn your focus to another sensation. Notice any smells around you, near or far, faint or pungent. Maybe you’ve lit a candle or applied some fragrance to yourself or the space around you. Maybe you smell food or plants, fresh washing or smoke. If a smell brings negative thoughts, turn your attention to more positive smells around you.

Perhaps the taste in your mouth becomes noticeable. Maybe there is a sight aftertaste from your last meal, or from smoking or brushing your teeth. If you don’t smoke and/or haven’t yet eaten, notice the inside of your mouth and how your tongue feels. Is it heavy or light? Is it soft or rough? How does it feel to move it slowly around the mouth?

This may bring your attention to touch. How do things feel? How do your hands feel where they are resting, and what are they resting on? If rested on your body, do they feel warm or can you feel the warmth of your body beneath them? If on the floor or furniture, how does it feel? Is it cold? Is it soft or rigid? Are you comfortable? Notice the connection between your sitting bones and where you are sat. Do you feel rooted and supported by the earth beneath? Is the rest of your body comfortable in this pose? How do your clothes feel against your skin? If you want, you can even feel around you, resting your hands on any objects they fall upon and considering what they might be.

Maybe this will bring your attention to your sight. Blink your eyes open gently, take in your surroundings, noticing objects, shapes, colours, materials and light. Gradually trace the room, resting on things that catch your attention, and then pause, noticing how you feel after the exercise.

Close your eyes again and close the practice with a few deep breaths.

Well Being With Friends ~ Amy Ward of Bug Clothing

Business Stories, Inspiration, Interview, Lifestyle, Essentials, Natural Living, Rituals, Sustainability, Wellbeing, Well Being with Friendsdanielle coppermanComment
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Amy Ward is the mastermind behind sustainable clothing brand, Bug Clothing. She seeks the objective to create garments by hand that reflect the ideology that we should all buy less and admire quality and consideration over quantity. She uses only natural fibres as the foundation of each garment, and each piece will be uniquely different as they are made by hand on a very small scale. The materials used are designer factory deadstock which would otherwise go to waste, meaning they aren't contributing to the reproduction of new materials.

Here, I catch up with Amy on some of her favourite and recently discovered lifestyle tips for living well and behaving ethically and responsibly in a consumerist society.

Favourite or recently discovered Book:

Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed, The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson, and How Should A Person Be by Sheila Heti.

Favourite wellness tip or tips:

I feel like I spend every moment of my day rushing from something, to something, to finish something. So I have decided to make sure I take time to feel and rub each part of my body when I bath. Squeezing and massaging your calves just feels great. We spend so much time stood, walking and using our bodies and I've only just started paying attention to my body and feeling grateful for everything it allows me to do. 

Favourite or recently discovered Podcast:

I'm really bad and listen to the same thing, I just adore The Moth. I love listening to it when i'm on a bus or walking. I really love to listen to stories of people from all different walks of life with a whole different set of experiences and perspectives, it really opens your eyes. I also listen when i'm doing long days/nights in the studio and have spent many'a'hours crying and laughing out loud. I also have really enjoyed 'Violet Sessions' - listening to inspiring people speak about their experiences and businesses is really interesting.

Favourite or recently discovered App:

MyFlo! My lovely friend introduced me to it. It's amazing for Women to keep track of their cycles and to get tips on which foods to eat and what exercises to do to relieve annoying symptoms of our periods. I was going through a phase where I was feeling really rubbish when I was due and said to my friend that I just always wanted to cancel my plans and hide inside, and she just said 'why the hell aren't you just doing that?'. Knowing your schedule and knowing when you might not be feeling great, and not overwhelming yourself with plans and events and taking time to just lay in the bath or just making yourself a lovely dinner that will make you feel good, is very very important.

Favourite or recently discovered Song:

Music, aside from food and cats, is one of my favourite things and is soooo important. My favourite song today is Angel by Fra Lippo Lippi

Sustainable / handmade fashion - tell us more about your contribution and passion for this mission, and give us a few simple tips for effortless changes in this area that anyone can make today:

I read an article a long time ago about how the rate of depression and anxiety is much higher in ours and the previous generation, and how this could be heavily linked to the fact that people spend a lot of their lives at desks on computers, as opposed to doing something physical with an actual physical outcome. The satisfaction I feel when I finish a garment, or a pattern, is just great, and seeing your accomplishments in a physical form is really rewarding. In our Grandparents generation there were far more makers, people mended things, made their own things, they were much more pro-active and nowadays so much of our lives is computer based and I think that can lead to you feeling far less satisfied with your days outcome. 
In the past makers, whether it be seamstresses/builders/carpenters/shoe makers etc weren't especially wealthy or valued, but in recent years people with skills and the ability to make are becoming much more valued. The skill and intelligence it takes to put something together is a wonderful thing and should be rewarded with equal pay. 

I think some people assume it's easy to make something. It's easy to take a garment from a store that you like, take this to a factory and to get it copied and produced, which is what a lot of brands do. And you could say you are getting things made locally, but do they know the conditions in which the people are working, what their rate of pay is, the hours they are working? I make everything within my studio, and currently am able to do this because my demand isn't ridiculously high and because me and my employees have the ability to physically make everything. I think people should delve a little deeper with what they are supporting and buying into. It's very easy with things like Instagram to be enticed by an aesthetic or the look of a lifestyle. But far past 'not currently recyclable', what does it mean to be ethical, anyone can say it, and a lot of people do without really assessing what that means.

Favourite or recently discovered Film / series / documentary:

Greys Anatomy. I don't know why. It just feels good and I love it. There's something nostalgic about it, the soundtrack reminds me of being a teenager and it has the same warming feeling that I get from watching Frasier.

Something you've done recently that felt really, really good:

Me + my partner got a dog! He's called Seabass, and he's very good for my soul. We leave our phones at home and take him for an early morning walk before work. It really helps to set your day up and an excuse to spend time outside whatever the weather is. Also seeing such a lovely innocent little creature running around and having fun is just the best.

Wellness tip to try today:

Look up at the sky! It's lovely and wonderful + we forget to look up at it.

Favourite or recently discovered sustainable fashion brand:

Penny Sage. Kate, the designer, designs everything and gets everything made by one lady who lives locally to her in New Zealand.

Favourite pieces from that brand:

They make a good range of styles and the pieces i've gotten are really well made staples that go with a lot of things. Like a pair of really durable jeans and an a-line denim skirt which I adore. Also, the trousers. Mostly they're the same cut which is super flattering and lovely. They have a button-up fly and are high waisted and just hold everything in place perfectly.

Favourite or recently visited country / city:

I recently went to Pollina in Sicily which was very beautiful, and the local wines were incredible 

A story from your favourite or recent travels:

I really love a lot of places, but my fondest memory that comes to mind was cycling around Southern Turkey collecting fallen Pomegranates. It was the end of their season (October) and they were just rotting on the ground. We rented a scooter and visited the fruit and vegetable market and bought so many wonderful things to eat, and also a bunch of walnuts which I also added to the dye mix. We also visited the local fabric shop and got some lovely Turkish cotton to use, I did some tests and different consistencies which was fun. The initial colour is a lovely pink, as you would imagine, but after rinsing the actual outcome was a really beautiful bright cardamom-y yellow. It was a really therapeutic thing to do. Especially as when you're in London it's quite difficult to find time to do fun, experimental things, there are always a lot of other responsibilities.

Favourite or recently discovered wellness product or tool:

Natural soap + shampoo bars by Funkysoap. They are based in Leyton so very close to me, and don't use plastic containers just lovely natural bars wrapped in paper. I felt really bad looking at my plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner and how we don't refill them we just throw them, so decided to use bars instead. And I love them. 

Favourite piece of advice, quote or mantra:

Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object - Hermann Hesse.

Something you live by - a mantra or general morals:

Everything will be better in the morning. Because sleeping on things always seems to be great for perspective.

Favourite remedy for illness:

Rest! Lots of sleep, baths with salts + oils. I have also recently taken to making some of my own natural remedies instead of using regular medical ointments. I sometimes suffer with impetigo when I am run down, and instead of using my usual cream, I instead made a paste of Tumeric mixed with coconut oil, and a lot of hot compresses, it seemed to aleviate the rash very quickly. My next task is that I am going to make a potion with sage to help with ulcers.

Best remedy for sounder sleep:

Hmmm, it's a tricky one because I could quite literally fall asleep in the middle of a motorway. I think fresh air and walking is a really great way to make sure you sleep well.

Favourite form of exercise:

I really love to stretch. Yoga is my favourite and only form of exercise. And when i'm home at waiting for the kettle to boil I like to stretch my body.

Favourite or recently discovered place / person for ultimate chill time:

I went to a Womens' Hamam in Kreuzberg, Berlin in December. The weather was rubbish out and the spa was so lovely and the people so friendly. There was a steam room and the tiled room with the metal pans for pouring warm water over yourself, which when you sit and do it for 20 minutes is super relaxing. After I sat upstairs in a towel reading my book and drinking Turkish tea and it was magical.

Favourite healthy food / drink:

Drinking vinegars! My partner just made a reaaaally great Rhubarb Vinegar that we drink with sparkling water and feel like we're being fabulous.

How do you achieve that work / life balance?

Oh boyyyy. Something I am very much still learning. I think it's just important to not overwhelm yourself (I do this often) and to remind yourself how important it is to do nice things, to appreciate the little things, and to eat a bunch of yummy things everyday. 

How do you remain mindful and conscious whilst successfully growing a business with purpose / promoting a more meaningful lifestyle and consciousness:

I think it depends on how your business came about. I struggle to separate myself from my business because ultimately I am my whole brand. I have to somehow be a business Woman when really I am a maker, so I never started a business with the intention of making money. I just wanted to make nice things and if I could create jobs for lovely and talented people and make clothes that supported other local businesses with buying fabrics and trimmings, then just great. I want to make sure the people I work with are happy, that they're enjoying what we're doing and also at the end of the day it's just clothes. I've never been driven by money and so this makes it really simple for me to produce new styles + clothing. I go by what I think looks great and hope that other people like it too. I think it's good to be transparent and I am working on a series of transparency posts, I want people to know what goes into a product. It's easy to idolise the things you see on Instagram and people are good at creating a mood, this is all well and good but I think it's very important to be real and to be humble. I have previously worked with large high street brands who have the ability to sell dresses for something ridiculous like £8. How is it possible? It's possible because everything is wrong. How is it that something that is better travelled than me and a lot of us, that is made up of material, that's been designed, that's been pattern cut, sewn, packaged and put into a commercial building, being sold for so little? This sets the precedent for how people value what they buy. Why would they buy an item of clothing for £180 if they think the worth of a garment is less than £8? Having a value is very important, things take time to grow, things need to be nurtured and cherished and in our consumerist culture we are all taught that things are very throw-away. I feel very passionately about it. And I myself have been blind in the past, we are raised the way we are and I completely understand that we are not all privileged enough to have the option to consider what goes into everything that we eat and wear, but luckily I do feel like people are becoming more aware. Hopefully big supermarkets will stop using 'not currently recyclable' plastics (idiots), and people will care more about who made their clothes, and the environments in which they are made. And hopefully people will have far fewer belongings, but they'll have really special things. Sorry about my rampage.

Favourite thing to instantly reduce stress:

Go for a walk and listen to a podcast, most likely The Moth, to get a little perspective and be reminded of the kindness of others. Also, I love to read poetry in the bath, things by Rupi Kaur, Key Ballah and Nayyirah Waheed.

First thing you do every morning:

Ask my boyfriend to make me tea

Last thing you do every evening:

I'm not religious but I have a little ritual of asking (in my mind) god/someone/the sky/whoever, to keep all the good people safe and happy and healthy.

Weekend rituals:

I like to have Sundays off, and I like to have a bath in the morning, read some of my book, drink lots of coffee, lay still for as long as I can.

Wake Up Well Workshop with Earl of East London at Bonds ~ August 4th & August 11th

Events, Wellbeing, Wake Up Well, Rituals, Natural Living, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment
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I’m super excited to be hosting one of my first events of the year, a Wake Up Well Workshop with one of my favourite stores, Bonds x Earl of East London.

Join us in their Kings Cross store this August for a Wake Up Well Workshop with a difference. We will spend the morning talking all things wellbeing rituals and discussing how to create sustainable and empowering morning routines, whilst enjoying energising hot drinks and a delicious Qnola brunch spread. We'll then make our own Wake Up Well candles guided by the Earl of East London team, using calming but energising components to create a powerful candle to take away and incorporate into your daily rituals. The event will end with a guided meditation intended to reduce stress, encourage focus and concentration and energise the mind. The meditation will be something you can practice independently at home, so you will leave equipped with tools to apply to your own daily rituals and to design a productive morning routine that you can practice anytime you want.

Wellness at Six Senses Kaplankaya ~ For ES Magazine

Commisions, Around the World, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Summer, Sustainability, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Just visiting Six Senses Kaplankaya offers an abundance of wellbeing, regardless of whether you then participate in any of their additional programs, packages or treatments. By that, I mean that the fresh air, the ocean, the warm weather and sunshine, the food made almost entirely from produce grown in the resorts own gardens and the untouched nature for miles is enough to calm to the mind, nourish the body, nurture skin, hair and nails and get squeaky-clean vitamin and mineral rich oxygen flowing throughout the body. However, if you want or need more, you will find exactly the thing (or things) at Six Senses Wellness Center; all with the guidance and support of in-house and visiting practitioners from around the world.

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The wellness center at Six Senses Kaplankaya (which, by the way, is one of the biggest in Europe) is built around a variety of theories and practices, from clinical and scientific methods, to more Eastern and spiritual approaches. At the foundation of what they do is the understanding that each one of us is different, and that each individual should be observed holistically and treated in an entirely personalized way. For this reason, the resort offers things like wellness screenings and bodpods which take a detailed snapshot of your current health and composition and which they suggest you do on day one of your visit, so that you can spend the following days enjoying the most relevant areas of the resorts programs and treatments.

Following that, you can either choose to embark on whichever one of their pre-designed packages or programs fits your needs, or to design your own completely unique schedule. The programs (such as mental detox, sleep and eat with six senses) offer a selection of different results; some being more psychological, and others being perhaps solely food-oriented. Depending on what you need, and also how you want to spend your time at Six Senses (since you may prefer to holiday rather than to detox, or to combine both in a more relaxed and flexible way), you can choose what is right for you with the support of some of the world’s most renowned practitioners to guide you.

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For those looking to detox

For those looking for an intensive program and a wholly detoxifying experience, the option is there to work on all areas of your health. You can enjoy tailored menus (which offer options designed with specific results in mind, such as better sleep, better digestion, general healthiness or detoxing and weight loss) and daily exercise classes or one-to-one sessions. For deeper work, the spa treatments and entire spa area (complete with hydrotheraphy, salt rooms, hammam and much more) are there to enjoy at your leisure. Practitioners are also on hand, offering things like deep tissue massage and body scrubs for physical detoxing, as well as more spiritual treatments which help to unblock negative or stagnant energy and to encourage positivity and a sense of clarity and happiness.

For those looking for some gentle cleansing

For those who want to enjoy the indulgences of the hotel whilst also doing a bit of work on themselves, you can take and leave whatever you wish, to ensure you create an enjoyable and relaxed experience that doesn’t feel to restrictive. You might not choose to follow a set diet and you might not wish to workout at all, but you can book in as and when you like for things like one-off classes (perhaps the gentler options like yoga and Pilates) and massages and other treatments. You can also opt for activities that feel more like a good time than exercise, such as swimming (in one of their pools or the crystal-clear ocean), water sports (like their catamaran-bicycles), local walks and hikes, cycling and classes like zumba. You’ll also find healthy options in all of the hotels restaurants, so if you want a salad or a green juice whilst also enjoying some wine and dessert, you can have it all!

For those looking for enlightenment

For the more spiritual or curious, and for those looking for a deep journey into the self, to take things one step further than a short-term diet or fitness program, and to equip you with rituals and skills to take away and apply to life back home, the resort offers all kinds of treatments and therapies to encourage relaxation, clarity, positivity and more. From energy healing such as sound baths, reiki, watzu (basically water shiatsu which I cannot recommend enough) and shiatsu, to meditation, chakra aligning and ayurvedic massage. They also run workshops and as part of certain programs supply gratitude notebooks, to encourage journaling and writing down whatever comes up during treatments or just generally during your stay. If you want to go even further, some practitioners even offer training for certain treatments, such as reiki, in case you want to learn the tools to practice on yourself (or others) in future.

As you can see, there is without a doubt something for everybody at Six Senses Kaplankaya, whether you want to do some deep detoxifying and self-development or prefer some serious relaxation with a side of green juice or yoga every now and then. Find out more about their programs and packages here.

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Natural Remedies & Tips For Handling Your Flight Anxiety ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Anytime, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Travel, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Since I was too young to rationalise fear of flying, I have become a loyal member of the anxious flyer club. Sometimes it’s worse than others. Sometimes, the day before a flight, anxiety will kick in, manifesting in the form of physical tension and/or mental distractedness. Others, I’ll be fine, or I’ll convince myself I’m fine but the minutes the wheels start spinning I’ll lose my breath and start worrying incessantly and assuming the worst.

As a regular flyer, I have, however, found ways to manage these inevitable side effects, since travelling is a big part of my job and I don’t want to miss out on things just because the journey frightens me. I have developed a set of simple rituals, which reduce stress and anxiety, reduce physical tension, silence my worried mind and just generally put me at ease. I know a lot of people struggle with flight anxiety and general fear of flying, and for that reason, I wanted to share them. Below, find some of my favourite natural remedies and simple rituals to help calm the mind, reduce stress and ease physical tightness and tension, to support you all the way to your destination, and back.

1. Avoid coffee, or all caffeine if you can

Caffeine can often enhance nervousness and anxiety, depending on your personal physiology and the way you metabolise it. Some people are fine with caffeine and metabolise it slowly meaning it is manageable, however others metabolise it quickly and that’s when you end up with intense and often buzzy energy spikes. For me, caffeine messes with my adrenals and that extra spike in whatever it is really throws me off whack and makes me feel more on edge. It makes me feel tense and tight and unable to relax, so if you know you get anxious or nervous flying, avoid caffeine as much as possible, pre-flight.

2. Aromatherapy is out of this world effective

One thing I discovered long ago was aromatherapy and the power of scent to heal the mind. For the past few years, I have been travelling with aromatherapy balms and essential oils, and as soon as I get into my seat, I douse myself in it. I rub the balms or oils on my wrists, neck, temples and even under my nose or on my upper lip if I need extra intensity. I use scents that are relaxing, uplifting, grounding or mood boosting, and they honestly help so much. Not only is the scent incredibly healing on a deep physiological level, applying these oils or balms enhances the ritual of breathing deeply, encouraging you to take a moment for some deep inhalations and exhalations. I couldn’t recommend this more, for a quick, relatively cheap and easy-to -do-anywhere remedy.

3. CBD

You’ll be familiar with CBD by now, I’m sure, and I personally use it in several areas of my life to encourage relaxation and to reduce stress, anxiety and physical pain or tension. For flying, it comes in handy as a way to reduce stress and anxiety, calming the mind and helping you to generally chill the F out. I take a few drops internally about half an hour before my flight, and if I’m feeling really uncontrollable, I’ll top up when I settle into my seat too. It helps to just take the edge off my nerves and gently slow the mind, making me quite unfazed and unaffected by my formerly overpowering thoughts.

4. Sleeping aids

Sleep is sensible option if you want to get through a flight, and is my best piece of advice if you would rather just sleep through the whole thing. To do this, for those unable to silence their mind or those who find it difficult to sleep in such uncomfortable and unfamiliar conditions, I present to you, liquid melatonin and magnesium supplements and / or spray. Melatonin works best for me (it knocked me out for almost the entire flight from LA to London) but magnesium is a slightly milder option known to encourage sleep and relaxation, and to relax and repair muscles. Obviously there are also stronger, over-the-counter or prescription options too, but these are my favourite supplements for naturally topping up hormones and chemicals we already hold within us. Oh, and a few other tips for sounder sleep: earplugs, eye masks, socks, a blanket and a cushion or neck support if needed.

5. Eating

Something I discovered works well for me only recently is fasting during a flight. Sure, that’s pretty easy on most flights around Europe, which are a maximum of a few hours long, and sure, that sounds impossible for long haul flights but, hear me out. Fasting, and ultimately giving the digestion a break, allows your energy to be used elsewhere, and also means running less risk of inflammation or bloating. For me, I get a tense stomach and hold anxiety and stress in my stomach area, so having a break from digestion food helps to keep my stomach from being under too much pressure to work hard. When I fast on planes, I notice I feel much less tense and whilst stress still has its side effects on me, my stomach feels generally lighter and more at ease that when I eat whilst be incredibly stressed. If you get anxious and, like me, hold these emotions physically in your stomach, your energy is used on your body’s stress responses, anyway, and so doesn’t have spare energy to use on digesting food. If you can, eat before and after a flight but not during. If you must eat, opt for really hydrating, whole foods like fruits or raw vegetables, which are not so hard to digest, and which don’t dehydrate you (like nuts or salty foods).

6. Breathe deeply and often

This one is another favourite of mine, especially when about to take off. For me, the take off is the worst part for me, and I’ve learned that regulating my breath by practicing deep breathing and / or pranayama techniques really helps me. Not only does it take my mind off my worries to focus on the sequence of my breath, it also just fills my body with energetic oxygen, which is needed all around the body. When we’re stressed, we tend to hold our breaths or adopt a rapid, short breath, so when you notice this next time you’re anxious on a flight, either take about 6-10 long, deep breaths (with your eyes closed also helps), or look into some more advance pranayama techniques to try.

7. Listen

This one might seem obvious, but it’s effective. I have to listen to music during take off, to drown out the noise of the aircraft. Sometimes, any beeps or other unfamiliar noises (like the wheels going up or someone dropping something on the floor) trigger an extra pang of anxiety and concern, so listening to music really helps me. It doesn’t really matter what kind of music you listen too, but I’d recommend something relatively fun and upbeat, or calming (but loud enough). Nothing too heavy, loud or aggressive though as this will just make things worse. It might be useful to make an ‘In Flight’ playlist. Another option is to listen to audio books or podcasts, to take your mind of things.

8. Keep hydrated

Planes are incredibly dehydrating, so be sure to drink plenty of water before, during and after flying. Try to avoid alcohol or caffeine as these are dehydrating, and could also contribute to your levels of stress or anxiety. Water is the one.

9. Prepare

This is an important one. Be prepared for your journey and allow enough time to get to the airport, to avoid added stress getting to the flight already feel anxious about. Being bored and waiting around is better than being late and frantically faffing through the airport, a hot and stressed-out mess. On another note, if you want to be really prepared, use the day before to spend time downloading and organising the apps you might need during the flight, as well as playlists and / or videos.

10. Keep busy

Keeping busy and having plenty to do during a flight is another good way to keep your mind distracted from the anxiety of flying thousands of feet above ground with absolutely no control over the matter. Download something to watch (if you flight doesn’t have entertainment screens), listen to music or podcasts, read, write, draw, look through photos (I always find this incredibly calming), play a game, meditate and so on. Whatever you do, just don’t sit there worrying.

11. Gratitude and positive thinking

This also helps me to calm my mind and feel better, and serves almost as a meditation of its own. I use a diary or the notes on my phone to write down a list of things I am grateful for, too, which makes me feel positive and acts to distract my mind from my worries.

12. Walk around

During the flight - whenever possible - try to get up now and then to stretch or stand. This can help boost circulation and prevent stiffness and inflammation, but can also help take your mind of things, too. Standing with both feet rooted on the floor can help you feel more grounded, and even doing stretches at the back of the plane can help boost energy flow and enhance positivity. I like to stretch or do some gentle Qi-Gong-style exercises, and also incorporate breathing with this. It just helps to keep energy moving and to avoid stagnant energy or blocks, and also keeps you busy.

13. Watch the air hostesses

This might sound weird and a little creepy, but whenever I’m nervous, either during take-off or turbulence, I look around to see how the air hostesses are acting. They take multiple flights a day (just imagine if bad flyers like you and I had to do that and be grateful that we don’t), and I always think that if they don’t seem worried or concerned, then everything is under control. Of course some things that you worry about might be out of their control, but it just helps in the moment to know that as long as the airhostesses are going about their duties calm and collected, there is nothing immediately to worry about.

14. Self-massage

Self-massage can be a great tool for relaxation. Try to develop a massage technique to use on your hands, feet, head, face, temples and neck. There is no real right or wrong way, just gently massage wherever and however feels good. It might help to close your eyes, too. If you want to go one step further, do some research on specific pressure points, and specific meridians or points associated with stress or anxiety.

15. Try these apps

Soar is an app that helps to calm anxious flyers and reduce nervousness, panic and claustrophobia. It offers written articles about flying, videos and even things like gravity monitoring and turbulence predictions. The Breathing App is also useful if you want to master your in-flight breathing rituals, and some of my favourite meditation apps include Insight Timer, Headspace, Breathe, Buddhify, Calm and Inscape. You can also find apps with white noise, too, to encourage sleep.

16. Meditate

I’ve mentioned this within some of the other points, but meditation is such a simple method for calming a worried mind and instilling relaxation and clarity and helping you to feel present. Meditate as you take off, during the flight and then just before you land or during the landing. Just 5 or 10 minutes each time can help reduce stress and silence your thoughts. See point 15 for recommended apps.

17. Visualisation

Usually I advise people to focus on the journey (of life), not the destination or endpoint, but when travelling, the opposite makes more sense. Focus on the destination, not the journey. Visualisation is a powerful tool (a type of meditation depending on how it is practiced) for enhancing mood and reducing stress and anxiety. Try to develop a visualisation practice, perhaps visualising things like pleasant memories in the past, hopes and dreams for the future, or perhaps most easily, the destination you are heading to. If you are going on holiday, visualise where you are going and what you will do. You could visualise the hotel or accommodation, a beach, the ocean, the pool, the food, people you might be meeting once you get there, or random people you might come across. It could be anything and it doesn’t have to be accurate; let your mind run naturally wild and go with it.

18. Ensure your energy is topped up

This topic has sort of been touched on in point 9, but as well as preparing and making sure you are not going to stressfully be finishing packing before your flight or face last minute issues or delays, be sure to have prepared for your flight on a deeper level. The night before, as much as possible, ensure you get a good night sleep. If you need to be up early for the flight, sleep well the night before the night before, or nap during the day before your flight. This will ensure, no matter the time difference at your destination or the jet lag, that you have your energy reserves topped up as much as possible.

Remember, when it really comes down to it, you have very little control over the situation once you’re on that plane. There is not much you can do, and worrying certainly isn’t going to help anything, it will just make the whole ordeal much, much worse. Try to sit back, relax and enjoy the journey as much as you can. I hope one or several of these tips will help you through your next trip!

Well Being with Friends ~ Josefina A. Theo of Casa Raki

Interview, Natural Living, Rituals, Well Being with Friends, Wellbeing, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment

In my latest Well Being With Friends conversation, I chat to Josefina A. Theo - founder beautiful sustainable swimwear brand Casa Raki. I picked up some new insights in the world of sustainable fashion and manufacturing, along with other stories and suggestions for daily life and balanced wellbeing. From recent reads and favourite wellness apps, to travel memoirs and mantras to live by, I hope you discover a selection of new things to try and to apply to your own lifestyle, to assist and support your journey of self-development and prosperity.

Favourite or recently discovered Book:

Tokyo Blues by Haruki Murakami (English version)

Top wellness tip(s):

Do yoga every day!

Favourite or recently discovered Podcast:

I'm pretty old-school and still haven't gotten my head around to podcasts, yet.

Favourite or recently discovered App:

Vivino for wine ratings and reviews.

Favourite or recently discovered wellness guru, personality or website:

I’m a recent Goop convert, and love their amazing wellness tips.

Favourite or recently discovered Song:

Contra la Pared by J Balvin / Sean Paul.

Favourite or recently adopted daily ritual or habit:

Swapping coffee for decaf coffee.

Sustainable / eco beauty - your favourite beauty rituals and ingredients or products for good skin?

Gazelli Skincare.It's amazing.

Favourite or recently discovered Film / series / documentary:

Quicksand on Netflix

Something you've done recently where you felt super present, content and grateful:

A picnic I had last weekend with my best friends at the top of Col de Vence, the most beautiful natural setting, with the best company and the best food and wine. I felt very grateful for life in that moment.

If we were to try just one thing for our wellbeing, what would be your one tip:

Yoga changed my life, I would honestly recommend practicing it regularly, It's not only great for the mind, but it's a game changer for the body as well.

Favourite or recently discovered sustainable fashion brand:

I would say my own as I'm the biggest fan of our mission, but If I had to pick another one it would be Patagonia. They've been championing sustainability for almost over 50 years and are way ahead of the curve. They should be an inspiration to all sustainable brands starting out today.

Favourite pieces from that brand:

Weirdly I would say their wetsuits, they are amazing quality and they last a lifetime. I grew up surfing in them Punta Del Este.

What are your core values when it comes to sustainability and sustainable business and fashion? What are the key practices within Casa Raki and why do you do what you do? How do you evolve the business ethically whilst keeping up with trends and larger more commercial brands?

As a business we try to be as sustainable as we possibly can. We always pick a sustainable option for our production if there is one available. It is challenging for a young business to do, as recycled materials, organic cottons, etc are usually more expensive than the ordinary options but the options are readily available and of equal if not better quality. I don’t just want aspects of the company to be sustainable, that is no longer enough. I want the whole company to be sustainable; from our fabrics, supply chains to the way we treat our workers while passing on a fair price and wonderful product to the end consumer. I decided against trends because I believe it encourages an unsustainable consumer behaviour, so we are going against the grain with reasonless, timeless styles that are not trend-driven.

Favourite or recently visited country or city:

My favourite country of all time is Brazil. I would highly recommend everyone to go and explore the north of the country, especially. There are some amazing natural hidden gems and I am constantly finding inspiration for the new collections there.

A story from your favourite or recent travels:

Swimming with sharks on our honeymoon! So scary but exhilarating!

Favourite or recently discovered wellness product or tool:

Jade Roller, a bit late to the party, but wow what a great gadget!?

Favourite piece of advice, quote or mantra:

Take it easy and don't be too hard on yourself! My mother keeps repeating this to me weekly.

Your favourite remedies for illness:

My sisters tip: raw garlic! It's incredibly healing.

Tips for better sleep:

Eye masks! I’m a recent convert.

Favourite or recently discovered place or person for ultimate chill:

The Rectory Hotel in England; a lovely place for a city escape.

Favourite or recently discovered healer:

Acupuncture is awesome, I recently discovered it and it has helped a lot with anxiety and stress for me.

Favourite or recently discovered wellness cafe, restaurant or store:

Milk Beach in Queens Park.

Favourite healthy food or drink:

My old time favourite, Acai.

Advice for that work / life balance:

Switch off as soon as you come home, leave your phone and computer in your bag.

Business advice for business owners, self employed or anyone keen to start their own business:

Never give up! There's a lot of obstacles on the way, but don't let them bring you down. And always have a solid business plan in place first. Unfortunately, good design is not always enough to keep a business stable.

Favourite thing for instantly reducing stress:

Take three. deep. breaths.

Spiritual practise:

Meditation.

First thing you do every morning:

Meditation.

Last thing you do every evening:

Read a book.

Weekend rituals:

Walking our dog in the park.

Complete this sentence. What works most for me is:

Doing a lot of Yoga weekly and enjoying being present. Spending as much time as I can with all my close friends and family who make me happy every day just by being there.

Well Being Support Series

Lifestyle, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle copperman2 Comments

Just coming on here to tell you all about the new ‘Support’ section of my website; a series of worksheets, digital workshops and other formats of support-based, interactive content. The intention is to provide powerful practices to encourage you to develop on your own personal journey of wellbeing, and by providing worksheets, workshops and other exercises, I hope it will help you a little more deeply and on a more personal level than my regular content.

To kick it off, I’ve shared my first worksheet covering the topic of Daily Rituals. It outlines just 10 simple rituals that I have tried and tested over time and which I think can really contribute to enhancing your life, both physically and mentally. I like to think that this worksheet will provide simple, digestible and achievable reminders and prompts for you to adopt one or several wholesome practices that can support you at different times of the day. For me, these rituals have helped increase my energy levels (both mentally and physically), improve digestion, enhance positivity, reduce stress, boost productivity and focus, and eradicate unhealthy thought processes, such as limiting beliefs, judgement, doubt, fear and comparison.

You will also find some information on private consultations as well as a question space, where you can leave me a question about absolutely anything and I will do my best to get back to you with some overview advice. I have decided to set up a space here for confidential questions, following on from the huge response I had to offering monthly consultations via Instagram’s direct messages.

To find out more, click the ‘Support’ tab at the top right of the site.

Earth Day 2019: Earth-Friendly Tips From 13 Inspiring Insiders

Essentials, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Sustainability, Vegandanielle copperman1 Comment

You know by now that I’m super conscious of the damage we are doing to our planet, and constantly striving to reduce my impact on the environment (unless it’s a positive one!). I love discovering new products and ways to swerve more commercial products or ways of doing things which - it’s becoming clearer and clearer - use up devastating amounts of energy and/or resources. Wherever possible, I opt for sustainably and ethically produced goods, ideally made with limited or no packaging, and made from either recycled, recyclable or biodegradable materials that won't stick around on our planet or disrupt our atmosphere for decades after we’ve disposed of them.

As with many things, there is so much to learn, and there are endless new products and methods to discover. That’s why, this Earth Day, I asked some of my friends of whom are on their own sustainability journeys, to share some of their favourite or recently-adopted eco-friendly life hacks. I am constantly finding new inspiration and discovering new things to try in order to do my bit, and I hope that by sharing several stories from people at different stages on their own sustainability journeys will inspire you to try at least one or maybe even all of them.

Happy Earth Day 🌎#ProtectOurSpecies

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Millie Mackintosh, model, entrepreneur & author

How do you make an effort to reduce your impact on the planet on a daily / weekly / monthly basis?

1. I use eco-friendly cleaning products (I’m currently loving Method)
2. I recycle
3. I use food storage boxes rather than cling-film in the fridge
4. I always carry a metal or glass water bottle to avoid buying bottled water in plastic or single-use glass
5. I’ve stopped using plastic cotton buds and straws
6. I have a keep cup for take-out coffee
7. I like to buy clothes from brands that used recycled fabric
8. I only eat meat once a week and am eating a lot more plant-based in general

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Cora Hilts, Founder of Reve en Vert

What’s one of the most important pieces of advice you would give to someone trying to make more conscious and sustainably lifestyle choices?

My two tips for living a more sustainable lifestyle are to educate yourself and to look outside of your own personal desires a bit more. Educate yourself with reliable news stories, get interested in science, watch things like Conspiracy and David Attenborough’s Our Planet. You will likely find yourself wanting to change rather than thinking of it as something taxing you have to do. And think of personal desire secondary to our collective needs - it’s just one Evian for my yoga class, it’s just one steak I am craving, it’s just one jump in the car. We are all contributing to this massive problem of pollution and emissions, so either think ahead or go without from time to time - it won’t hurt you, and it certainly won’t hurt the planet.

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Eva Ramirez, wellness & travel writer

What’s one recent change you’ve made in your routine to reduce waste?

I’ve become a lot more conscious of food waste recently, and I’m far more conscious about not letting things like a bruised plum or bunch of wilted parsley - which I would have otherwise thrown out - go unused. It’s made me a bit more creative in the kitchen, and my food processor and slow cooker have certainly got more action (I’ve been making pestos, soups and vegetable curries where wilted ingredients get completely disguised) and I feel a lot better about the food I’m eating too. I’m also using my freezer a lot more to avoid things going off and to waste - something my grandma is particularly proud of!

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Caroline Deisler, plant-based fitness blogger

1. Eating a plant-based diet has so many environmental benefits and it motivates me even more to promote that lifestyle. I feel more connected to our wonderful planet than ever before and love the feeling of eating a colorful diet that doesn’t involve any cruelty.

2. Other switches I made to reduce my environmental footprint is to get around by bike instead of Uber! I feel so much better as well, getting some fresh air instead of being stuck in traffic. :-) I‘m also really trying to cut down my plastic consumption 🙌🏼 I now have reusable shopping bags, reusable fruit & veggie bags for the fridge and got a water filter installed under the zink to stop buying plastic bottles.

+ I will also launch my swim line @caroswim_ this summer and put a big focus on sustainability. All materials are eco friendly, either partly or fully made from recycled materials and the packaging involves no plastic as well which I‘m really happy about. :-)

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Melissa Hemsley, chef and author

What’s your favourite go-to recipe to use up ingredients on their last legs, to avoid things going to waste?

An easy and delicious way to clean out the fridge, not waste food and make something great for a breakfast / packed lunch / snack is to do a "Friday Frittata" . Anything goes, you don't even need to chop anything, sometimes it's grated onion, carrot and cheese, sometimes I just tear up the ends of soft herbs like basil or dill and the last of the limp rocket. It's always different, always delicious and it's about 5 minutes of effort.

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Madeleine Shaw, author & blogger

Can you share your top 3 favourite eco-friendly tips?

1. Picking up the odd fruit & veg - As well as local markets, lots of big supermarket chains are now putting on display loose and often mis-shaped fruit and veg! These poor little guys normally become waste, so I like to pick these up and make a veggie hot pot with them, where it doesn’t matter how they look.

2. Turn on Aeroplane mode - I feel like my phone is always dying on me, and before it does, I need to urgently put in on charge. But, I've consciously tried to start putting it on aeroplane mode to save the battery and save electricity. A small change, but it means I get some time off of my phone and also helps lower my carbon footprint.

3. Who am I ordering from? - I have started to be more conscious about the companies I order stuff from, whether it's food, clothing or toys for Shay. I like to look at their values and also how they wrap and package the products that get sent to me. There are so many choices online for buying stuff, and it only takes 5 more minutes to find a more sustainable company for the things you need.

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Olivia Crighton, founder of Glasshouse Salon

Can you share some simple tips for anyone wanting to clean up their beauty and hygiene regimes? And any other habits you’ve adopted and would like to share?

  1. When it comes to my beauty cupboard, I’m a big fan of using Yoni’s plastic free and 100% organic cotton tampons. The material is designed to biodegrade after use and is free from the potentially harmful chemicals included in traditional feminine care products.

  2. I have also recently started using the OrganiCup. I learnt that the average woman uses up to 11,000 single use tampons in her life, so this is a great way to significantly reduce bathroom waste.

  3. I’ve also swapped my toothbrush for a bamboo Truthbrush and have been using beauty products that are packaged in glass, paper or aluminium as much as possible.

  4. I’ve followed a plant-based diet for many years now, but recently I have been making the extra effort to cook more at home and avoid processed and packaged foods to minimise packaging and lower my carbon footprint. I think it’s important generally to consider the environmental output of the foods you eat, choosing to opt for locally grown and organic produce where possible.

  5. It’s difficult to avoid buying all the sweet children’s outfits I come across for my daughter, but I really feel the fashion industry’s carbon footprint and nasty bi-products that contaminate our oceans cannot be ignored any longer. I try to minimise the number of new outfits I buy and opt for second hand options whenever I can. When I do buy a new piece however, I’ve found that buying higher quality items from more sustainable materials last longer, helping me to buy less overall.

  6. For any new mums, I’d also recommend looking into alternatives for basic baby items such as reusable, washable and biodegradable nappies, and biodegradable baby wipes. Traditional nappies can take up to 400 years to decompose and can contain harsh chemicals that could be bad for baby and for the environment too.

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Genevieve Gralton, founder of Underbares

Tell us what it’s like running an ethical, sustainable brand, and any personal daily habits you’d like to share on reducing waste and avoiding single-use items:

In my personal life, I intentionally avoid purchasing single-use plastics by always carrying a bag with me for groceries, a S'well bottle, and, if picking up food on the go, avoiding any extra packaging or plastic silverware! For my business, Underbares, all of our packaging is either created from recycled materials, biodegradable, or full recyclable. There's a lot of waste in the world--I don't want to add to it

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Zanna Van Dyke, fitness blogger

What’s one major change you’ve made recently in a conscious effort to love and care for the Earth, and how can we all do our bit to keep our immediate and local natural surroundings thriving?

The main change I have made is raising my awareness of our impact on the natural environment in day to day life. If I see trash in nature, I pick it up. It is as simple as that. Removing plastic, glass or cardboard from the natural environment helps reduce the risk of it impacting wildlife and causing further damage.

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Sjaniël Turrell, natural make up artist

I think the most effective change I’ve made over the last while was making the decision to start using only reusable wash cloths instead of wipes for changing nappies at home and only using wipes (biodegradable of course) on the run. I’m busy and exhausted most of the time so I would love to be one of those mums who only uses rewashable nappies, but as a freelancer without a nanny or cleaner I have to be realistic about what I could manage from day to day. Using washable cloths instead of wipes at home has changed my wipes usage from 3-4 packs per month to about 1 pack every 3 - 4 months - it’s one small change but I was amazed at how much of a difference it made!

Secondly, I have started using balm and oil cleansers to remove makeup with an organic cotton muslin that I can wash out after each use - I do this before washing my face with my favourite gentle cleanser from Twelve Beauty. This has saved me on using copious amounts of disposable cotton pads which I couldn’t live without before.

These aren’t massively life altering changes but I believe if we all make these small doable changes our collective choices have massive implications on positive impact for the earth. It’s about numbers of people making changes, not numbers of things for one person to change.

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Phoebe Torrance

What are some of your favourite eco-friendly swaps you have made over the years?

Firstly, stopping eating red meat - after a while I didn’t even miss it, I actually started to feel healthier and got my iron from sources like veggies, nuts and seeds. Secondly, bringing my reusable coffee cup everywhere I go - it even gets you money off in shops. Thirdly, using reusable makeup remover cloths which you can wash after use and re-use. And finally, always bringing my own tote everywhere, where, again you save money not having to pay for a plastic one! It’s about making little steps yourself that make a huge difference, and if we all did several small things, there would be a real change!

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Pauline Hansen, Founder of Pama London

You make gorgeous activewear from natural materials. What’s something you’re particularly proud of or excited about this year?

I’m super excited to be working with Econyl which is going to be one of our newest fabrics used in our leggings and bras. It’s made out of plastic waste from the oceans, meaning it not only recycles plastic waste, but also contributes to cleansing the oceans too! Our new Moon & Stars collection is all about cleaning up the oceans and preserving it. The products are also all recyclable, creating a circular economy for the journey of our clothes. I believe people should buy more clothes made with fabrics like Econyl, and that would be my top tip to anyone wanting to make positive changes to their habits. Buy less clothing and other things made from synthetic materials, and more

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Pip Roberts, Yoga Teacher

What ‘s your favourite life-changing adaptation been in your daily routine?

Ditching pre-made / shop-bought mylks. Environmental reasons go beyond the impact of cattle farming and back to the single use plastics we use for milk, so I am making an effort not to use tetra-packed mylks.

I blitz up vegan milk (my favourites are oat (so cheap!) and black sesame), in the vitamix each morning, storing any left over in the fridge in glass bottles for later.

Get going with this eco-friendly starter pack

Must See Sustainability Documentaries & Environmental Documentaries

How To Stop Procrastinating

Inspiration, Lifestyle, Mindfulness & Meditation, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

How to Stop Procrastination Forever

This blog post on how to stop procrastinating comes at the end of an unproductive day for me. I mean, in reality, I think my unproductive days are equal to many peoples idea of a productive day, but in comparison to my own productive days, unproductive days suck, and leave me feeling super flat and frustrated.

I’ve done all I urgently needed to do today, but I think that’s half of the struggle. Being your own boss and running your own projects can often mean you have to create more work for yourself. So, when you have slightly quieter periods, its crucial that you motivate yourself to go out and find future work or at least plan for it. I had the good intentions to focus on so many things today, and whilst I had the time to make space for them, I found myself procrastinating with unimportant emails, faffing with new software for my website (which took time and resolved nothing), posting a little on Instagram and generally just hanging out on my laptop but with not much to show for it.

It’s days like these - or should I say Monday’s like these, mostly - that really drain me and zap my energy. I always know the minute I wake up that it’s going to be one of those slow-burning days, lacking inspiration or enthusiasm, and where lots happens and I do lots of little bits, but I don’t actually feel like I’ve gotten anything profound or productive done at all.

Today, a lot of positive things happened and lot of important things on my to-do list actually did get done. But, I think, because none of them were incredibly engaging, I didn’t feel as excited as I should have done. I received some exciting emails, I arrived on my new modelling agency’s website, I sent some emails I’d been avoiding for some time, I planned some new projects for Qnola, amongst other things, yet none of these things made me feel like I’d done enough by the end of the day.

One thing in my way was severe whiplash from my recent ski trip to Austria, making my neck excruciatingly tight, my head painfully heavy and my mind dizzy and distracted by a dull and constant headache and a lack of appetite and, subsequently, energy. I also had a little jet lag and was probably overtired, but we never make excuses for ourselves when we’re busy being hard on ourselves, do we? If it was anyone else, I would have told them to take a break or take the day off, but because it was myself, I forced myself to power through and well, yep, it didn’t get me much further than having a day off would have done; may as well be honest with you.

It has however, inspired this late night blog post which I hope in turn inspires you next time you hit a productivity block.

Causes of procrastination and why we experience productivity blocks

A number of things can affect our concentration, motivation and productivity, from one day to the next.

  1. Your job and / or the task at hand. If you hate your job or if whatever you need to do makes you miserable, your motivation is going to be low. Passion is the secret to guaranteed productivity, motivation and drive. Don’t freak out if you hate your job, just don’t blame yourself for lack of drive if that is the case. It’s the jobs fault, not yours. You’ll see when you eventually find what truly lights you up (disclaimer: It’s a forever-project).

  2. Your energy levels. Have you slept well? Have you slept long enough? Are you generally well rested? Have you eaten? Have you eaten too many sugar or caffeinated foods? Have you exercised? All of these things will affect your physical and mental output.

  3. Distractions. These come in all shapes and sizes, from things like matters in your own private life, new stories and office conflicts, to constant texts or emails, external noise from colleagues or things like the radio, or internally muttering coming from your own thoughts.

  4. Time constraints. Sometimes, deadlines can be more overwhelming than good, and can restrict you from doing your best. Other times, they can be too lenient or long, allowing more room for procrastination. Try to find a schedule structure that works for you.

  5. Misc. There are plenty of other things that can induce productivity blocks. I touched on internal muttering of the mind, but more specifically, things like comparison, self-doubt, self-worth, confidence and fear can powerfully affect and dictate how productive your are, or you allow yourself to be, I should say. All of these things have a way of mentally holding you back, by making you feel either incapable, unworthy, undeserving, or all of the above. These kinds of things often arise to challenge you, and in moderation, they’re good traits to carry, but when they become too much and stop you from doing things, they become detrimental to your life and mental health, and prohibit you from living life authentically. Tiredness, lack of sleep, lack of nutrients, external or societal expectations are amongst some of the reasons these thoughts and feelings surface now and again. Meditation and mind-mapping can help silence these self-limiting beliefs and help you regain control.

How to approach procrastination and productivity blocks

What to do when you feel a wave of low-productivity approaching (or when you wake up feeling a lack of inspiration or motivation) and how to avoid it.

  1. Understand that it’s just one of those things / one of those days; notice it, allow it, and whatever you do, don’t judge it or try to change it. It will just. make. things. worse.

  2. Once you’ve noticed you’re having one of those days, start a fresh to-do list. Sometimes, on days like these, you have to break things down really basically. It may seem condescending but making things a simple as possible will really help you to concentrate. Make things easy, digestible, plain and simple. It’s important to be gentler, more patient and more understanding with yourself, as the more pressure you put on yourself, the more overwhelmed and anxious you’ll become. Go slow and try to do one thing at a time. And if this means cutting down your to-do list for the day, so be it.

  3. Drink plenty of water. Down 1-2 glasses of water as soon as you feel this dip in productivity. Follow that with a herbal tea, and even better, bring in a fruit and vegetable based juice or smoothie, for extra and instant nutrients.

  4. Prioritise natural, whole foods. You need your nutrients, and your brain needs as much fuel as it can get. I’d suggest raw or cooked vegetables, foods high in omega 3 fatty acids (like avocado, nuts and seeds), and if you don’t have much of an appetite, incorporate adaptogen powders, tonic herbs or other superfood powders, or take multivitamins and other supplements to support cognitive function.

  5. Take time to breathe deeply. On days when either you just don’t feel productive, or when you feel overwhelmed and unfocussed, stopping to concentrate on your breath can be powerful. Close your eyes and take 3, 6 or 12 long deep breaths, taking full inhalations and forceful exhalations. This should help to reset a few things mentally, and will instil inner calm and peace, if only for a moment.

  6. Try to have just one to-do list. I am guilty of having to-do lists on my laptop, in my digital calendar, in several places on my phone, and then still go about making a handwritten to-do list. It’s never a good idea but I also can’t seem to stop myself. Learn from my experiences, and try to just organise your to-do lists for the present day in one place. Try to keep it neat, and prioritise things in order of urgency.

  7. Don’t

  8. Go

  9. On

  10. Instagram. Honestly, I have now sincerely warned you. There is nothing for you there, and certainly nothing that will help you on a day like today. Perhaps the odd inspirational quote, but you’ll likely pass hundreds of other overwhelming / soul-destroying / envy-inducing snippets whilst your there, that with either make you feel down, jealous, frustrated, unworthy, incapable, negative, depressed and, oh, unproductive once more. Just, don’t do it.

  11. Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t worry if you don’t feel like you’ve done ‘enough’. Sometimes, in a days work, you merely plant seeds. You send emails and might not hear back straight away'; you plan projects but have no completed work or outcome to show for it (yet). Try to think of some days as planting seeds, and cultivating. It is all part of the process and things can’t always happen instantly. Imagine the seeds becoming whatever you desire or whatever they are destined to become, and then wait patiently for them to evolve. But know that results don’t always come instantly. Trust the process and do what you can, with what you’ve got. Remember there is no rush, and whatever will be will be.

  12. Get some fresh air. Take a walk in nature or just somewhere local you can go that’s outside. Even just a change of scenery. A trip to a coffee shop or another public place during your lunch break. Any of these things can contribute to lifting your mood and encouraging a new wave of motivation or inspiration.

  13. Indulge in time for yourself, particularly at the end of a day that you feel has been a bit of a flop. Take a bath, read a book, watch something on television, hang out with friends. Do something thoroughly relaxing, and enjoy thinking about how much better the following day will be. Get some rest and know that you will wake feeling more refreshed than ever. And if you don’t, know that that’s ok. Sometimes these things come in waves. I’ve had weeks and even months of low productivity, low moods, low motivation and lack of inspiration and enthusiasm, and it isn’t easy. But trust that it is all part of the process, and that when the time is right, things will become easier and a little more effortless. It depends on a lot of things, but it will come.

How to stop procrastination now

As with anything, I believe there can be important groundwork to be done and foundations to be laid before productivity blocks arise, in order to actually avoid them, more or less completely. Take into account the topics from above, but in general, to avoid the approach of productivity blocks in the first place, try the following 10 steps to stop procrastinating.

  1. Eat well

  2. Stay hydrated

  3. Move. Exercise daily, even if it’s just walking or stretching

  4. Breathe

  5. Talk to others. Also, ask for help if and when you need it. Asking for help regularly or delegating tasks to others around where you can you will help take relieve some of the pressure you’re under, and should help you to feel generally less over-worked and overwhelmed

  6. Read positive quotes or inspirational memes. Or, write some of your own. Write a positive affirmation or thought as a way to pivot any negative thoughts you might be having. For example, if you think something like ‘I hate my job, I will never get a job in fashion like I want to’, write down an opposite thought like ‘I look forward to finding my dream job, and I already love working in fashion’. Thinking more positively and acting as if you are already in the situation you want to be in has profoundly powerful effects on the outcome of your situations

  7. Practice non-attachment. Simply work as much as you can, and get stuff done, but don’t put pressure on the outcome or the reason behind doing something. For example, don’t write an article just so it will be published. Write the article because you want to, and in practicing non-attachment, the outcome and result of you doing so will come willingly, and when it is destined too. And in the meantime, you won’t be putting pressure on yourself or the situation for it to be anything other than what it is

  8. Get outside in nature, often

  9. Give yourself permission to have regular breaks. Even if its just 10 minutes per day. Schedule a time to just be. To welcome silence or stillness. This should keep your productivity nicely topped up

  10. Get enough sleep

How To Spring Cleanse Your Life ~ For Ecoage

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment
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Last week marked the first official day of spring, and with what might just be my favourite season of all approaching, I wanted to share some of the practices that I like to incorporate into my day-to-day routines during this seasonal shift, along with some tips for adapting to this transition from one season to the next.

Four times a year, we experience a shift between seasons, and whilst the actual exact shift usually passes unnoticed, when you really take time to pause and acknowledge it, and to tune into whats going on beyond your own little world, it will begin to bring your attention to just how interconnected everything is, and in turn, this will allow you to make more sense of your moods, thoughts, emotions, feelings, actions, experiences and the general behaviour of you and all other living things and beings around you. It’s quite fascinating, and you will come to learn that things going on around you are happening in your favour, and to support you. For example, different foods will grow in abundance depending on your local surroundings, as nature adjusts to the new season not only for its own welfare but to provide us and other living things with exactly what we need.

Spring is a time of cleansing, and when I think of Spring I think of detoxing, new beginnings, resetting and rebirth. It is a time of freshness and newness; a time of hope and anticipation; a time of faith and excitement as the warmest and brightest part of the year approaches. Having spent long wintery months in the shadows of gloomy weather and arctic temperatures, forced into hibernation, Spring brings with it this joyful and vibrant energy, and as our natural surroundings begin to flourish and bloom, our own cycles and energies do too. Or so they should. If you are not entirely in tune or in sync with the seasons and the natural cycles and phases of the Universe, the following practices are intended to help you to get there, by boosting your energy levels (bringing them in line with the energy of nature), boosting your mood (bringing it in line with the frequencies of nature) and cleansing your body and mind through food, movement and other rituals. Try a few of these practices to not only look and feel more thriving physically, this Summer, but also to let go of anything that feels heavy with negative energy, and to adopt a powerfully positive mindset, to attract all that you desire in abundance.

1. Food & hydration

In Ayurveda, the same way living beings have doshas, seasons do too. Spring is known to be the kapha season, which starts off somewhat wet and cold in March and develops to become still wet but much warmer between around June / July. In early kapha season, the world is slowly coming out of hibernation and things are beginning to awaken and reemerge with new life. Kapha characteristics are known to be heavy, slow and cool, so it is good to incorporate practices that make you feel light, active and warm, such as detoxing your diet, exercising regularly, eating warm foods and getting under the sun whenever it’s out.

During kapha season, when we want to adopt more vata and pita habits in order to balance the kapha energies, it is a good idea to cleanse internally, by really purifying your diet and detoxifying any internal build up. Luckily, spring’s produce supports this, providing us with light and hydrating ingredients that are high in vitamins and minerals to aid detoxification. As well, further cleansing can be done where needed, to gently purge and reset the digestive system (in other words, if you’ve never had a colonic, now could be the time).

Try incorporating some of the following ingredients into your meals and habits into your daily routines to cleanse from within and to eat as nature intended, with ingredients determined to support us this season.

Spring ingredients:

To eat in ways to support you during the spring, eat both seasonally available and abundant ingredients, but also be mindful to eat in ways that balance kapha energies. For example, avoid oily, greasy, heavy and dense foods, and instead opt for lighter and drier ingredients. Enjoy warm foods rather than cold or entirely raw foods, and favour rough, fibrous ingredients more than soft or smooth ones (such as banana and avocado).

Asparagus
Broccoli
Dandelion greens
Lettuce
Fennel
Spinach
Peas
Potatoes
Strawberries
Carrots
Green Beans
Garlic
Leafy herbs
Rhubarb

* Take into account also your own Ayurvedic constituency, as this will determine more personally what you need and also what you digest best.

As spring approaches, I would suggest a 3-7 day cleanse incorporating both spring produce and kapha balancing ingredients, with a daily eating schedule looking something like this:

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Hydration:

Start the day with two glasses of water (around 1 litre in total), on an empty stomach. Add a dash of fresh lemon juice, sliced cucumber, ginger root, turmeric root, a stick of activated charcoal or apple cider vinegar, to flavour the water but also to awaken the nutrients of it and add more nourishment to each sip.

Throughout the rest of the day, ensure you drink a minimum of 2 litres in total. Try to avoid drinking a lot during mealtimes, and instead be mindful to time it by drinking at least 1/2 an hour before a big meal. Small sips during or after a meal are fine, but it is preferable to drink a little while before eating if you can.

Breakfast:

Try to have breakfast after 10am, when your digestion is more active and energetic. If you get hungry before, try to enjoy a liquid meal, such as a juice or smoothie, or some plain, fresh or cooked fruit.

Lunch:

Try to make lunch your biggest meal of the day, and try to enjoy it between 12pm and 2pm, when the digestive system is most active and efficient. During a cleansing period, try to base your meals on raw and/or cooked (ideally not fried or roasted, but boiled or steamed) vegetables, whole or psuedo grains, and ethically sourced meat or fish. Foods like salads, soups, stews, kitchari, dahl, curries, or mixed vegetables are advisable. Try to avoid processed condiments or dressings, and select seasonal ingredients as much as possible, as they are in season for a reason!

Dinner:

Try to keep dinner relatively small compared to lunch. Try to eat by 6pm, as the digestive system is thought to slow between 6pm and 10pm. Base your meals on the same ingredients and ideas as lunch, and try not to snack before bed. Avoid rich or sugary foods and substitute with fresh fruit if you really crave dessert. Also enjoy herbal tea if you need something else later in the evening. Try to drink a small glass of water before bed (and take any relevant supplements such as probiotics before bed, too).

Snacks:

Try not to snack at odd times throughout the day, but instead snack directly after your main meals. Enjoy fresh fruits, raw vegetables, natural and wholesome dips (like houmous) and / or nuts and seeds. Also enjoy hot water (which is known to nurture the digestive system), herbal teas, coffee, cacao or other adaptogen drinks whenever you feel hungry. Light liquid ‘meals’ are also advisable, such as juices or smoothies.

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2. Movement

This season is a great time to get active. Emerging from the still and stagnant winter months of surrendering to home comforts instead of persevering, Spring brings a new energy of lightness, strength and resilience. With a sense of newness in the air, it’s time to start afresh, dust off your trainers and get moving.

Exercising regularly, even if thats just walking (aim for 10,000 steps a day if you’re not otherwise active), can help with the body and minds detox processes, and will also encourage circulation, digestion and lymphatic drainage. Not to mention, it will also increase mood, stamina, focus, concentration and positivity, so, you know, there’s really no excuse. It’s also interesting to know that as spring’s energy is associated with kapha characteristics, it is thought that living beings tend to have more strength and endurance around this time of year too, so it shouldn’t feel quite as much of a struggle as it does during the winter, when you generally feel more lethargic and sensitive.

Massage is another form of movement you can really benefit from at this time of the year, and a practice that further supports detoxing and lymphatic drainage. Try using a body brush before or after showering, and or indulge in self massage (either with lotion or oils). Even better, get a partner or friend to massage you, or treat yourself to a professional one. Focus on the neck, shoulders and back, as well and the legs.

3. Rest and recuperation

You’re gonna like this one. Getting enough rest, despite the fact we’ve basically been sleeping all winter, is still advised during early spring. Whilst the sun rises earlier, it is advised to go to sleep earlier and rise earlier too, to sync as closely as possible to the cycles of nature. So, I’m not about to tell you to enjoy your lie in’s, but I am going to suggest keeping an eye on your sleeping habits, and ensuring you get enough sleep and rest to aid physical and mental detoxing, and to ensure your energy levels are topped up (and, again, aligned with that of springs own energies). A nap here and there wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

As well as sleeping enough, be sure to practice some grounding rituals, such as meditation or breathing / pranayama techniques. This is important as towards the end of spring can become quite an energetic and buzzy time, so feeling grounded, present and supported is crucial for keeping physically and mentally balanced and for remaining tuned in to yourself and all around you.

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4. Space

This section brings me to one of my favourite parts of spring. I can feel my desperation to clean, tidy and declutter bubbling away as I get restless towards the end of winter (having been feeling too overwhelmed or lazy to approach it), but as spring arrives, I immediately want to clear the air, make some space and get rid of things I don’t use or need anymore.

The infamous spring clean. It’s a tradition for a reason, and not one to be ignored. Regardless of whether or not you do it in spring, I think at least one annual purge of your possessions is crucial for sanity if not for sight. Rather than getting rid of a little bit here and a little bit there throughout the year, an actual appointment of sufficient time gets the job done much quicker and more efficiently (and less painfully, too). Over time, our belongings build up, and if we’re not constantly replacing things, then we’re constantly adding things, which, not always, but often means that old items get buried or forgotten.

A good old fashioned spring clean is crucial to refresh a space and to clear the energy, but it has also been known to benefit our own wellbeing too, enhancing productivity, positivity, concentration, motivation and peacefulness, reducing the stress and anxiety often brought on by tidying being another overwhelming task on our to-do lists.

It’s important to note that you should cleanse your space and belongings mindfully, though, and instead of throwing things away, finding ways to recycle them - either by giving to friends or family, charity, vintage shops or even selling them on sites like eBay, Depop and Vestaire Collective or at markets if you have the time and a little patience. Try not to let anything go to waste.

Another way to enhance your spring cleaning rituals is by smudging. Using sage or palo santo, or even incense or essential oils in a diffuser to clear any negative energy. Did you know, energy from arguments or other negative situations and occurrences can linger in the air or in areas of a room where they took place, and smudging is known to cleanse these ‘bad vibes’ and reset the energy. I love to smudge a few times a month, either after an argument or bad news, or if I’ve just had a stressful or frustrating day.

Finally, when cleaning after you’ve decluttered and tidied things away, choose your cleaning products with care. Opt for natural, non-toxic products from brands like method or ecover, or even make your own, using natural ingredients like bicarbonate soda, vinegar, oils and essentials oils. There are plenty of recipes for these online and in my book, Well Being.

5. Mindfulness

Finally, mindfulness, as always, is a powerful ritual to keep up during the spring. Practicing regular meditation, stream of consciousness (writing without agenda as soon as you wake up, before checking your phone, speaking to anyone or getting out of bed), positive thinking (writing down or simply thinking positive thoughts about the day gone by (if practising before bed) or the day ahead (if practising in the morning)) and / or gratitude (writing a list of things you are grateful for), will help to keep your energy positive and abundant, which will in turn attract experiences of the same frequency. Furthermore, as this season resembles new beginnings and new life, letting go of negative habits or relationships or removing yourself from negative, draining situations is crucial in order to open up new opportunities and to ensure you can attract what it is you truly desire. It is an exciting time and with just a little bit of extra focus and attention, it can be powerfully transformational, rewarding and fun.

An Ode to International Women's Day, Plus Free Independent Empowerment Workshop

Lifestyle, Rituals, Wellbeing, Guides & Coursesdanielle copperman2 Comments
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International Women’s Day is always an exciting one.

The first gathering held in 1911 (!), #IWD stands as a day to remember, appreciate and celebrate the efforts and achievements of women passed, present and to come. It remembers the struggles of individual figureheads and entire movements, celebrates accomplishments and progression and motivates a call to action for continuous dedication to the pursuit of gender equality.

The day unites female communities all over the world and should stand to encourage and inspire women to not only feel empowered to stand up and speak up, but also to support other women around them in doing the same. The energy and activity we create as a whole is far more influential than what we can do alone, after all.

Whilst we can’t all be Emmeline Pankhurt’s, we can start by doing some important work on ourselves, to find our power, uncover our truths, and harness our feminine energy this #IWD. As female rights have certainly come a long way, in modern society with so many things running on masculine energy, it can be hard for us to make ourselves heard, or even to hear ourselves, for that matter. Take some time this #IWD to nourish yourself, to pause and to prepare for the next phase of female fearlessness and fruitfulness. Enjoy the following independent workshop which I have formatted into 4 simple prompts.
Note: you might need a notebook nearby.

1. Self Worth

I am becoming more and more aware of the importance that self-worth plays in our personal achievements. Self-worth is basically how we subconsciously value ourselves, and this is ultimately associated with how deserving we believe ourselves to be. In other words, our self-worth and how we view ourselves sets the tone for the kinds of relationships and experiences we deem ourselves deserving of. What we attract is ultimately a mirror of our own self-worth. Meaning, if we think negatively of ourselves, we will attract experiences of the same negative energy in line with our self-limiting beliefs. Our self-worth is how we communicate to the Universe what we believe we deserve to receive, which means if you feel incapable, unworthy and guilt and shame around what you feel you deserve, you will attract very little of what you truly desire. Whereas, if you raise your self-worth and feel fearlessly deserving, and clear about what it is you deserve and desire, the Universe will respond in ways that match this confident, assertive and determined energy.

Our level of self-worth is often all that stands in our way. So this International Women’s Day, and the day after that, and the day after that, start to change the way you speak to yourself. Change the way you communicate with yourself. Change the way you value yourself. Change the way you feel about yourself. And change the way you believe yourself to be. Change your story, and you will change the kinds of experiences you attract.

Start by getting clear about what you want to attract, and then use the following affirmations to change the way you think, feel and exist. The following affirmations are more generic, but if you have specific goals, work them into the mix too. This exercise is not so much about visualisation or planting seeds and setting intentions. It is about getting used to changing they way you communicate with yourself, and in turn, changing the way you communicate with the Universe. It is about changing the way you think, feel and believe.

I am enough.
I am successful in everything you do.
Nothing about this day needs to be perfect.
I am smart; I am educated. I know all that I need to know, right now.
I am capable.
I am not stuck.
I am exactly where I need to be, right now.
I am powerful.
I am strong.
I am beautiful.
I am healthy.
I am grateful.
I am abundant.
I am determined.
I am willing.
I am worthy of what I want.
I am capable of what I dream of.
I am in control.
I am working hard.
I deserve whatever I want.
I am open to what I need. I am open to be shown the way. I trust that whatever I need will come to me, exactly when I need it.
I have faith. I trust the process. I believe.
I am ready.

2. Empowerment

In changing the way you view and communicate to yourself, you will begin to notice a shift in your energy. If you truly believe in the things you are telling yourself, it is guaranteed to lift your mood and raise your self-worth and you’re frequency. This way of living is an empowered one. There is no place for fear, worry, concern or shame. There is no place for feeling unworthy or non-deserving. There is no place for holding back or feeling bad for what it is you want. You can’t help what you desire.

Feeling more empowered will help you to draw in exactly what aligns with your power and energy. It will help you to draw in exactly that which matches your desires and your reasonings, and as long as your self-worth and your goals are really true to your authentic self, the Universe will respond.

3. What do you want?

Getting to the root of what you really want is perhaps one of the hardest things to decipher. With so many expectations from society or, more locally, from friends or family, and with more distractions than ever, it is hard to tune into our innate desires. It is hard to listen to ourselves, and it is hard to really find what it is we actually want. Not just what would be nice. Not just material things. Not just achievements that we believe will make us ‘look good’. But deep down, what we really want, and why.

Asking the ‘why’s behind what it is you think you want is a grounding method to apply to this exercise, as it helps to really establish the feelings, emotions and outcomes associated with what you desire - or what you think you desire. And you’ll be surprised. The ‘why’s will reveal more accurately what it is you want, on a much deeper level, and will help you to align with your authentic self. This will then help you to uncover a real sense of purpose, too. For example, if you want a better job, why do you want a better job? For more money? And why do you want more money? For security? Or do you want a better job because you want to be viewed as being more successful? Why do you want to seem more successful? For external validation? For yourself? To feel more worthy? You may find that the ‘why’s behind your initial desires can go on and on, but go with it until you come to an answer that is more aligned to an emotion, a mood or a feeling. Often, you will get to a way you want to feel, and in fact, if you do the work in Step 1 (self-worth), you will become aligned to these feelings in more empowered ways, and in ways that don’t necessarily require instant action or much to change at all.

Start by using a few of the following questions to dig deep. It is advised to journal during this exercise.

What do I want?
Why do I want that?
What will that change?
How will it make me feel?
What will this improve?
What kind of life do I want to live?
Where do I see myself in 1 year from now? In 5? In 10?
Why do I see myself there?
How do I wish to feel?
What do I want for myself? What do I want for others?
Why?
Who do I want to become?
What kind of life do I want to live?
What do I want to achieve?
Why?

4. How can you support others?

Whilst steps 1-3 are focussed on self-worth and self-strategising, they are crucial steps in becoming a more empowered version of yourself who can then in turn empower others. You may find you feel more empowered and more determined, and you may learn things about yourself that you can share with others to help them too. Once you’ve done the work on yourself, do the work with others. Use your desires and goals to help others, and use your newfound power and enthusiasm to support them.

shall i do an online course / PDF on this. leave a comment below.

Empowering Female Finds & Other Useful Items

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Well Being New Moon Rituals - For Ecoage

Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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In my last post for Eco-Age, I shared some insights into how the full moon affects us, along with practices to assist in aligning with it and adopting and utilising its power. Each lunar cycle gives us the opportunity to delve quite  deeply into ourselves, and to use the energy of the universe to attract our true, authentic desires.

For ease, I’ll recap briefly here. The moon holds a different energy at different times of the month. The moon’s cycle is around 28 days, and during this timeframe, it goes from new moon to waxing moon to full moon and then waning moon. When the moon is waxing, it is essentially growing, and as it grows, it brings an energy of abundance, meaning this time of the month is an ideal time for you to manifest what you want. When the moon is waning, it is essentially shrinking, and that is why this time of the month is an ideal time for letting go and cleansing; be this physically (like tidying and decluttering) or emotionally (like letting go of negative thought patterns or challenges in career or relationships, etc etc). And that’s why the full moon and the new moon are seen as such transformational times. They are the pivotal moments in the moon's cycle and are therefore seen to be, in some ways, the most powerful. My previous article was dedicated to the full moon, so it’s time to take a look, now, at the new moon. 

Where the full moon is a powerful and energetic time and one often associated with transition and change, the new moon is a more settled time, and one of reflection and turning inwards. This phase is much calmer and brings with it a sense of stillness; its energy being much subtler and gentler than that of the full moon.

What is a new moon?

The new moon is when the moon is practically invisible to the naked eye. Having been on a cycle of shrinking to a thin sliver since the full moon - also known as waning - the new moon essentially disappears from view completely. The new moon is when the moon is directly between the earth and the sun, and the alignment of the Sun, Moon, and Earth leaves the side of the Moon that faces Earth in complete darkness. This is why, to us on Earth, it appears the moon has more or less disappeared. 

The new moon marks the beginning of a new lunar cycle. The energy usually associated with this phase is hope, clarity and anticipation, but not all new moons were created equal. Sometimes around the time of the new moon, you may feel this hope, clarity and anticipation, along with confidence, acceptance and a wave of inspiration for new beginnings. But other times, you might feel more sensitive and experience uncertainty and lack of direction, which is also fine too. Each new moon is a supportive time and allows space for you to understand how you’re feeling and whatever you may be going through. 

Since the new moon is a time at which the moon is not illuminated at all (unlike the full moon when it is fully illuminated), the darkness we experience on the planet is thought to present itself in our personal situations and physical and mental circumstances, too. For this reason, the new moon is thought to be a time of journeying inwards; a very personal time of really getting to know your goals, sowing seeds and setting intentions, to set the tone for, without wanting to sound too intimidating, the rest of your life. The lack of light brings with it a sense of mystery and uncertainty, and can mean we sometimes feel less clear about things; almost, i guess, as if we were feeling in the dark. We may feel we don’t know what we are doing, where we are going or what we even want. And similarly, the motives behind the activities of others may also be unclear or lack in sense. But don’t panic or get too frustrated or overwhelmed during this darkness, or when things seem unclear, and the future unimaginable. Be mindful that everyone is to some extent in the dark with you, just in they’re own unique ways. The good thing is, this darkness is temporary, and you should recognise this as a metaphor for your own personal troubles and challenges. 

How does the new moon affect us?

The new moon marks the first phase of the entire moon cycle, starting from seemingly nothing, growing into the full moon and then shrinking again at the end of the cycle before starting again. In this respect, the new moon is a fantastic and powerful chance for new beginnings. Physically and mentally, it is a time of cleansing and detoxing, and is the chance for us to let go of anything holding us back, and say goodbye to things that no longer serve us. It is a calm time of the month, making it perfect to set out plans, get clear of your goals and spend some time setting intentions, without haste and without any expectation of results or clear destinations in mind. It is a time to sow your seeds and set them free, and then sit back and do all you can to attract them into being by stepping into your power and becoming as magnetic as you can (that means acting, thinking and existing in line with you soul and your authentic goals and desires. Put simply, like attracts like, so act in ways you wish to be rewarded).

In a time of darkness, there are less distractions, and this energy offers us the chance to take stock and focus on what we’ve got and what we want. Whilst it is a nourishing time and one to move through carefully, it doesn’t mean we have to stop or slow down completely. Sure, we should move cautiously, but we should also enjoy the opportunity to be busy, by setting intentions and doing some behind-the-scenes groundwork in preparation for the next phase of the month, and, more specifically, the next full moon (when these kinds of intentions often come into cultivation). Around the new moon is a good time to actively consider what you want to manifest for the rest of the month (and ultimately the rest of the year and the rest of your life, without getting too ahead of yourself), so set your intentions and vow to be focussed and put in the consistent effort. 

The New Moon can sometimes bring a new wave of inspiration, motivating us to be more original, inventive and creative in our thoughts and activities. This period brings with it refreshing, new ideas and solutions to challenges or road blocks that perhaps have been persistent or stagnant for some time. On top of that, instinct is thought to take centre stage during the new moon, meaning, when we’re in our power, we can be (almost) effortlessly on track. The importance of tuning it and becoming aligned, present and fully grounded must be reiterated here, as only when you are in your power can your intuition and instinct be heard enough to guide you. The new moon is a very magnetic time, full of new ideas and opportunities and has the chance to present many spontaneous and unplanned - even unimaginable - experiences, but if you’re not tuned in, you’ll miss them, and this entire phase of the month will either pass you by entirely, or effect you in more negative ways, leaving you feeling stuck.

How to adopt the energy of the new moon and how to handle whatever comes up:

The new moon is an opportune time to initiate new projects and set intentions and goals in the direction of your dreams. Whilst it is a calm time, it should ideally be a period of hard work, too, unlike the Full Moon, which is more a period of fruition and reward. It is a crucial time to get clear about what you want, and so setting intentions is a non-negotiable. Below are a few other tips on working with the energy of the new moon to really get the most out of it, and yourself:

1. Rest and recharge. 

The new moon is a time to rest and recuperate and with the darkness bringing an element of silence and stillness, you too should adopt the same qualities. Meditate, go on long walks, be in nature, or just surrender to doing nothing. Have baths, do face masks, get a massage, go to a gong bath or sound healing workshop. Whatever you do, do it with ease, and make sure its nourishing you and giving your the chance to charge your batteries; god knows you’re going to need all the energy you can get to fuel all these intentions and new beginnings. *Some people find it particularly hard to sleep at the time of the full and new moons (this is known as being lunar sensitive). If you experience this, melatonin drops or supplements, as well as magnesium should help. You could also try calming essential oils on your pillow.

2. Turn inwards and ask questions. 

Take the time to get to know yourself on a deeper level. I find the best way to do this is to write things down and / or brainstorm. Ask yourself some serious questions, and get to the roots of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, what you want, and why you want it. This internal dialogue is crucial in making sure you know what you want and can clearly set intentions, without distractions. You should also take this time to ask yourself what is no longer serving you and / or what is in your way. The new moon is a time of letting go and cleansing, so take this opportunity whilst setting intentions for things you want, to let go of the things you don’t.

3. Follow your instincts.

Again, by turning inwards, you’ll find yourself more grounded and centred, and more aligned with your truth. By resting and recharging, you’ll be in the best frame of mind and will adopt an optimal frequency, to be able to notice, understand and trust your natural instincts. this will help you in making big decisions, starting new projects and ensuring you are on track with what you really want to be doing and where you really want to be going. 

4. Think positively.

Not only important around the new moon, thinking positively is so underrated. Its easier for us to think negatively, and we need to be more conscious when thinking positively which is why we often lose touch. However, the frequency of your thoughts ultimately attracts experiences of the same frequency, so thinking positively is crucial if you want positive things to happen. Whilst setting intentions, keep a positive mindset, and try to hold at least one positive thought in your mind each day. Not only will it change your mood, it will change the kind of energy (around you and of others) that you attract, and ultimately, your experiences. Setting intentions is like planting a seed. You must consciously nurture it with everything it needs (positivity, hope and trust) and keep the weeds (negative thoughts, people or situations) out of the way. 

5. Eat well.

Similarly to the full moon, I’d advise to eat nourishing and fresh foods as much as possible. Not only do highly processed foods interfere with your body and mind's natural states, the way your digestion and water levels react to the new moon may be more sensitive than usual. Generally, the new moon, whilst the moon is shrinking, means our bodies are in a mild deep-cleaning mode. Some people believe that they feel thinner and feel, whilst satisfied, less full and sluggish around the new moon. It is also thought that the new moon is a suitable time to lose weight without a lot of effort, since sometimes appetites are reduced. Be sure to stay hydrated too, and eat seasonally to really get in sync with nature.

So, a lot of information to digest, I know, but in a nutshell - if things are unclear as the new moon approached, it’s time to let go and trust. Tune in, get to know yourself and listen to your intuition. Set your intentions inline with your truth, and sow your seeds, then do all you can behind the seeds to support them. If nothing else, the new moon should act as a reminder for you to turn inwards, set your sights straight and try to turn any negative thoughts into positive ones. Let go of things that are standing in your way or putting a strain on you, and try to use this time to get excited about the possibility of new beginnings. Know that you can find your power quite easily (once you’ve filtered the distractions and let go of any expectations others might have you confined to), and once you do, you will realise that deep down you have the power and ability to achieve whatever you dream of. 

The Most Toning Workout You'll Ever Try, Plus 30 Days Free ~ with P.volve

Anytime, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Movement, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

Towards the end of 2018, I started working out with P.volve. P.volve is an incredible and completely unique fitness method that I’ve found to tone and define the body like nothing I’ve ever tried before. It increases strength and stamina, whilst also improving focus and balance, and what’s great about it is that they have a really interactive online streaming program, meaning you can workout from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere, for that matter.

I used to go through peaks and troughs of motivation when it came to fitness, but for the past year or so I’ve learned the importance of finding activities I truly love, which has resulted in a much more positive attitude and commitment to consistent training. It no longer feels like a chore or something I have to do, but instead something I love and enjoy and which makes me feel good. I battled with hating certain clubs or classes, especially the more intense regimes which often left my body inexplicably drained and fatigued, and my mind stressed and irritable. A lot of people ask me how I remain motivated to work out and the absolutely crucial step in becoming consistent with your exercise regime is to filter, find and do the things you genuinely enjoy. Otherwise it’s always going to feel like an extra effort, and it’s never going to leave you feeling as good as it could.

Tips for finding what works for you:

1) If you dread the thought of attending a class but know you will feel better for it afterwards, that' doesn’t make it right. Sure, you should feel challenged, but if you genuinely dread the thought of it, I promise you there are other ways to challenge yourself that you just haven’t yet discovered.

2) It takes time to find things you enjoy, but one of my greatest pieces of advice would be, before committing to a new membership or joining a new gym, try a few new places and classes before. Many gyms, studios and other methods offer at least one free first class, so do some research and try new things. It takes some time to filter out the things you love from the things hate, but it’s all part of the journey, and you’ve nothing to lose.

3) Listen to your mind as well as your body. So many people see exercise as something you do with and for your body, and whilst it predominantly affects the physical you, it also has the power to affect the mental and emotional you; in both positive and negative ways. If you feel frustrated, angry, irritable or stressed during your workout or class, it is thought that you will have less focus and concentration, and will also fatigue more quickly. Whats more, being stressed can really mess with your breathing and cardiovascular health and capacity, and the kinds of stress hormones that are secreted as a result have been known to increase the likelihood of fat storage, which just adds to the struggle and the frustration. If you can find activities during which you feel positive, calm, inspired, motivated and empowered, you will find you have more energy, more stamina, and will feel much more better not just during but also after your workout, rather than wanting to ‘reward’ yourself (often with edible treats) for the trauma you endured.

4) Workout with others, at least sometimes. Whether that means working out with friends or in group classes, having people around you adds to the experience and also brings a sense of community, support and added motivation (especially for the competitive type).

5) Use fitness apps if you enjoyed tracking your progress. These personally stress me out more simply because it adds to my to-do list and list of things I need to remember to check and update. But, they can be useful and when I have the time, I do think they can really help to develop a consistent exercise program and help you to track your progress.

6) Make feel-good workout playlists that keep your mood and energy high.

7) Find inspirational fitness accounts and personalities in order to keep up to date with the latest things to try, and also to keep morale and motivation up.

8) Change up your workouts. Keep them varied and don’t do the same thing every single day. Find a schedule that works for you and try to keep the same sort of schedule week on week, but try to have some days for one type of workout, and other days for other workouts.

9) Workout in nature. I used to hate cardio and still do but I have learned to embrace it since it makes me feel so good, after the initial few sessions. Walking and running, especially outside and specifically in green spaces, have so many benefits aside from the obvious physical ones, and just being surrounded by trees and plants can help improve your mood.

10) Reframe your perspective and the way you think about exercising. Don’t just exercise to get fit or reach visual physical goals, instead workout to feel good and to become stronger. Approaching exercise as something that can improve your strength, balance and posture and as something that can reduce stress and improve your mood puts less pressure on the workout and has been proven to be far more motivating that working out simply to change / improve the things your dislike about your body. Workout to feel good and to evolve physically and mentally.

11) Avoid pushing yourself too hard or too fast. Build up slowly, increasing strength and stamina before you try to challenge yourself too much. It takes time, and when you have a break from working out, it is even harder to get back into it, but that is part of the process. Patience is key.

Why P.volve?

Alongside running, walking, swimming, gymming, boxing, pilates, yoga and barre, P.volve has been an absolute life-changer for me, and I am so excited to finally share it with you as I know it’s going to help so many of you in so many ways.

1) it will help those with tight schedules and minimal time to workout more often, frequently and efficiently (most videos are about just 30 minutes long).
2) it will help those who can’t get to gym or those who just don’t want to fork out for an expensive gym membership to workout anytime, anywhere and from the comfort of their own home.
3) it provides an incredibly tough workout without your usual hiit or intense cardio sections, which I’ve found has helped hugely in keeping motivated at home.
4) the online videos are super inspirational and are easy to follow, with really supportive commentary from both the trainer and the demo girls.
5) there are so many videos online and they are constantly adding new ones.
6) they provide filters online, meaning you can tailor each workout to your own individual needs or preferences, from one day to the next (for example, applying filters like ‘abs' or ‘butt’ depending on which area of the body you want to target most).
7) some videos don’t even require equipment, making them super accessible to everyone and especially useful for those who may be traveling often and forced to workout in hotel rooms or poorly equipped hotel gyms. I could think of so many other points to add to this list of reasons why you should at least try P.volve, but instead, I’ll go into a little more detail below, and will leave you with an exclusive ab exercise to get started with.

What makes P.volve different and what to expect:

P.volve is the smart, science-backed fitness program that helps you achieve the best body for living your best life.

“Pain isn’t gain. Pain is just pain”.

Ever finished a workout feeling sore? Too exhausted to function? Ready to collapse on a couch with 6 hours of Netflix and your ringer turned off? That’s not a win. That's just bad.

P.volve is the opposite of a gruelling, high-impact, sweaty, painful workout. Instead, you’ll find a safer, science-backed method to help you achieve the beautiful, natural muscle tone and healthy results you want. You’ll even enjoy it.

P.volve’s approach to fitness is to elongate your shape and builds strength without bulk, to help you carve out the most perfect body that’s right for you. While other programs rely on reps, the P.volve method is based on mastering precise movements that activate hard-to-reach muscles. Because when every movement is meaningful, you can create visible results in less time, using less energy.

The workouts are unlike anything you’ve done before, because the movements are not like anything you’ve tried before. They’re based on the kinds of movements you use in your everyday life (as in, not bicep curls) then carefully developed over time, incorporating neuromuscular science and functional science expertise. In other words, P.volve works with your body. Not against it.

The P.volve method

✓ Elimination of bulk, creating beautiful shape and definition
✓ Specifics include more defined thighs, a higher butt, a stronger core
✓ Works with any body shape, any fitness level
✓ Low-impact anti-pulse training is easy on your joints
✓ Activation of hard-to-reach muscles
✓ A stronger body that helps you get more out of everyday life
✓ A noticeable boost to your overall health, wellbeing, and confidence

And the best news? Joining P.volve is only $29.99 a month. They offer a 7-day free trial, so if you aren’t ready to commit, you can try before you buy. Take a free assessment here to see if P.volve is for you and click here to find out more and to start your trial.

Use code “COPPERMAN30” to get 30 days free streaming. Simply follow this link to redeem and enter the code at checkout.

Update your workout wardrobe with a few of my new favourite pieces

We Need To Talk About The Full Moon ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Lifestyle, Moon Time, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment

Danielle Copperman, author of 'Well Being: Recipes and rituals to realign the body and mind', shares some insights into the affects of the full moon and practices to help you align with it.

The Moon and its various phases is something I have been interested in for a while now. Since first learning about how the cycles of the moon work and how they influence so many things - from animals and humans, to tides and climate - I have been curious to find out just how much the different phases can effect our day-to-day lives. There is a lot of information and many references to the moon these days, particularly to the full moon - which is mockingly blamed for manic mood swings and rolling bad luck. But just how much does the moon really influence us, how exactly does it influence us, and what can we do to really align with it in order to get the most from its powerful energy?

I believe that when we really tune in to what’s going on in the Universe, we can instantly begin to understand ourselves, our environment and others around us on a much deeper level. The phases of the moon is a good place to start, as it introduces you to the idea of energy, and how everything is interconnected. Everything is energy, and understanding how the energy of the universe influences our individual energies has been life-changing for me.

The moon holds a different energy at different times of the month. The moon’s cycle is around 28 days, and during this timeframe, it goes from new moon to waxing moon to full moon and then waning moon. When the moon is waxing, it is essentially growing, and as it grows, it brings an energy of abundance, meaning this time of the month is an ideal time for you to manifest what you want. When the moon is waning, it is essentially shrinking, and that is why this time of the month is an ideal time for letting go and cleansing; be this physically (like tidying and decluttering) or emotionally (like letting go of negative thought patterns or challenges in career or relationships, etc etc). And that’s why the full moon and the new moon are seen as such transformational times. They are the pinnacles of the moon's cycle and are therefore seen to be the most powerful. In this article I’m going to touch on the most popular and perhaps most intriguing; The Full Moon. More on the New Moon next time!

Full moons are powerful but not all are created equally. Usually, we will experience one full moon per month, however sometimes, if we’re lucky, we get two. You can get conventional full moons, but you can also get super moons, blood moons and several other more spectacular and energetically unique full moons. If you delve even deeper, you will learn that each full moon correlates with a certain star sign too, which looks at the full moon in relation to stars and other activity within the cosmos.

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What is a full moon?

The full moon is when the moon is at its fullest. It is essentially when the sun and moon are exactly aligned on opposite sides of Earth, and the entire face of the moon is illuminated by the sun. It is thought that this sense of illumination is present in aspects of our own lives, too, with certain things becoming more illuminated and amplified in the same way as the moon. For these reasons, the full moon is thought to be a time of change and transformation.

How does the full moon affect us?

Generally speaking, people tend to feel physical effects of the moon, as well as mental. Often, during or leading up to the full moon, it’s common to experience more bloating and a feeling of fullness, as well as severe fatigue. And on a more emotional level, the full moon is also thought to amplify mood swings, anxiety, more frequent low moods and sensitivity. It is also interesting to know that in our most natural and harmonious states (i.e. without drugs, alcohol, contraception, other medication and / or poor diet), women are supposed to menstruate either at the new moon or the full moon. It is not surprising, then, that if we are naturally intended to sync with nature, we must have some kind of intrinsic connection to the energies around us. When you also think about how the moon affects water and, more specifically, tides, it is interesting to notice that we humans are made up of around 75% water, and so, if the moon can dictate tides and influence the gravitational pull of our planet, it would make a lot of sense that it might also do the same to us on a smaller scale.

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How to adopt the energy of the full moon and how to handle whatever comes up:

The time leading up to and during the Full Moon is a highly energetic one. It is a time when lots is in flux; it may feel like there is a lot bubbling away and like something is building up and you may feel unsettled, uncertain and ungrounded, but not quite be able to put your finger on it. Whilst the new moon is a time of intention setting and cleansing, the full moon is a much more active time where things seem to be really in motion and up in the air. If you are able to tune into the energy, you can often ground and go with the flow, and be entirely in your power - mimicking the energy of the moon and in fact being super productive and inspired. However, if you are not aligned with its energies, you might experience a constant sense of feeling overwhelmed, confused and lacking direction.

1. My first piece of advice is to honour your energy. Sometimes at a full moon you may have bundles of energy, whilst others you may be super tired and lethargic. The key is to accept however you feel, and understand that it is not necessarily because of anything you have or haven’t done, but is in some cases out of your control. Surrendering like this feels amazing, and it really helps you to tune in to what you need. Sometimes you just need to pause. And at the other end of the spectrum, if you have high energy levels and feel highly motivated, it is also important sometimes to slow down, and not to jump into any rash decisions or make any major changes. Whilst this time can be incredibly inspiring, it is sometimes still best to be open to what comes up, analyse it for a while, and not necessarily act on in straight away.

2. My second piece of advice is to start to take note of when the full moon is approaching. I would suggest downloading one of many free apps, or investing in a moon calendar, to ensure you can schedule in certain things around the full moon (such as seeing friends, a massage, or just doing nothing) and avoid certain things (such as intense exercise, important meetings or self-set deadlines). By doing this you can be not only more aware but also more prepared.

3. Thirdly, take it easy and don’t do too much. It is not just one day that the full moon affects us, unfortunately, but it is often just as difficult or emotional a time in the lead up to the full moon. My advice is to just keep aware of how you are feeling, and take it easy. Don’t try to do too much, instead, turn inwards and dig deep to discover what’s really going on, why you are experiencing certain thoughts or moods, and take time to be grateful for what you’ve got. Having a grateful attitude will attract more experiences and opportunities of the same vibrational frequency. This may sound a bit ‘out there’, but the more positively and abundantly you think, the more of the same you will attract, according to the unwritten law’s of the universe. So, take it easy, take time to take stock, and think positively.

4. Finally, a few tips on making the most of the full moon energy. How should you utilise this powerful time and what can help you in staying grounded whilst manifesting efficiently? For me, it is about taking time to pause and ask yourself a few meaningful questions. How are you feeling, physically and mentally? How is your career? How are your relationships? How is your fitness? Delve deep and try to find the root of any troubling thoughts or emotions, then try to set them right, or do something to change them. To do this, you might do yoga or try meditation, or even sound healing if you don’t have a independent meditation practice. Another thing you can try, to really tune in, is going for a walk, alone in silence or with someone else. Being in nature is incredibly powerful, always, and especially at this time of the month. I often take a cup of tea and walk around my neighbourhood with one of my friends when night has fallen and the moon is bright. Even just gazing at the night sky is an amazing ritual for instantly feeling grounded.

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Once grounded, it can also be useful to write things down or journal. You might want to write about how you feel or write answers to the questions you’ve asked yourself, or you might want to write down things you want to manifest or goals you may have had, or just random bits of inspiration that may have surfaced. I always find it useful to brainstorm at this time of the month, as i often feel quite unsettled and unfocussed. It works for me to brainstorm what i really want to be focusing on, and sometimes this means letting go of certain things or just saving them for another time.

Another way to really nourish and ground at this time, too, is to eat a really natural meal, either during the day of the full moon or the evening of, depending on the time. I like to choose fresh, unprocessed ingredients, such as vegetables and grains, and in the summer I'll keep these raw and in the winter, i'll turn them into some kind of soup, curry or stew, for a more deeply nourishing, comforting and grounding meal.

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So, a lot of information to digest, I know, but in a nutshell, if nothing else, the full moon should act as a reminder for you to slow down a bit and turn inwards; to recalibrate, take stock and to get focused on where you are and where you want to get to. It is a very personal time and can vary from person to person, from month to month, but I would strongly recommend getting to know the phases of the moon in order to get to know yourself a little more, to ultimately live a more informed and empowered life. Honour your energy, and if you're feeling active, get manifesting, and if you're feeling fatigued, indulge and take care of yourself! If nothing else, please go and gaze out at the moon and stars tonight; it will change your mood instantly!

Sustainable Swaps to Live More Consciously ~ for The Welle Co

Commisions, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Sustainability, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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KNOWING EXACTLY WHICH EVERYDAY ITEMS YOU CAN SWAP, AND WHAT FOR, GOES A LONG WAY TOWARDS LIVING A HEALTHIER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFE. DANIELLE COPPERMAN EXPLAINS WHY.

Sustainability is a hot topic right now. It’s no secret that human behaviour is taking its toll on the earth and people can no longer deny that the way we act (and more specifically, consume) is unsustainable.

Modern life has progressed so much and whilst we now have more than ever, we also seem to want more than ever, too. We crave more and more possessions, newer and newer things… when in actuality, basic human needs are really very little. As a result of recent warnings, such as the amount of plastic in the ocean equating to more than the amount of fish come 2050 (yikes!), I’m on an ongoing journey of overhauling my lifestyle to make it more sustainable.

I know first-hand that it can seem quite intimidating to know where to start when it comes to making impactful changes. But there are so many things you can do, some large and some small, so I’ve outlined a few of my favourite ‘harmful for helpful’ sustainable swaps below that will help you to reduce your consumption and in turn reduce waste, meaning you will have a much lighter impact on the planet this year.

SAY NO TO…

Single use straws

Say NO to plastic straws! If you absolutely need to use a straw, opt for a paper or bamboo straw or a reusable straw made from glass, silicone, recycled (and reusable) plastic or wood. Luckily, many cafés and restaurants are now ditching the disposable straws for more sustainable options, so this swap is getting easier and easier to incorporate into your lifestyle. You could also buy your own and keep one in your bag ICOE.

Takeaway coffee cups

As much as we all love our coffee, the abundance of takeaway cups being tossed into landfill is absolutely killing the planet. Instead of using takeaway cups, invest in a good reusable option such as a Keep Cup, or a reusable glass, plastic or bamboo takeaway-style cup or flask. Your favourite coffee shop will gladly fill it for you.

Disposable cutlery

Say no to disposable, single-use plastic cutlery from cafés. Instead, invest in reusable bamboo cutlery – this is great because you can keep it in your bag at all times. Alternatively, just keep your standard metal cutlery in your bag (however in my opinion they’re a little heavier, louder and less convenient). This set is super handy and comes complete with straws, straw cleaners and a fabric wrap to keep them together and clean.

Standard cotton buds

Swap your standard, plastic stick cotton buds in favour of those made from bamboo, wood or paper, and ideally with organic cotton. As a bonus, the organic cotton is better for your ears as it contains less harmful dyes than the cotton from a standard cotton bud.

Disposable make up removal pads

Swap disposable, single-use cotton wool pads for reusable versions. You can find reusable cotton rounds, or bamboo options, or even make your own from old fabric. Alternatively, use a muslin cloth or flannel to remove make up (instead of going through loads of cotton pads which take a long time to biodegrade and can harm the environment in doing so). Also, buy in bulk, to save of shipping packaging and transportation miles.

Plastic toothbrushes

Swap your plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones. If you have an electric brush that lasts for longer, don’t worry too much… but for those of you going through a new plastic toothbrush every month or so, swap to bamboo! You’ll be taking care of your teeth and the environment.

Harmful beauty products

Take a look into your make up bag… how many of your products use plastics, parabens, chemicals and other fillers that are harmful for your skin? Those hidden nasties not only clog your pores but also seriously harm the environment (by circulating in our water supplies). Instead, opt for natural beauty products and keep an eye out for brands with recyclable, biodegradable or refillable packaging.

Fast fashion

We’re all guilty of impulsively spending on a trend that we just had to have… but we could all stand to stop buying so much! Next time you fancy a shopping spree, why not head to a charity, thrift or vintage store or a flea market? You’ll find something more unique whilst also finding a new home for something that could otherwise end up in landfill.

Plastic shopping bags

Not only are plastic shopping bags terrible for our planet and wildlife, they’re relatively flimsy, too… so instead, use reusable tote bags or other fabric bags when shopping. You’ll feel good about making a small swap that helps the planet and you’ll fit more in your bags, too.

Bottled water­

Bottled water costs you a pretty penny and contributes greatly to landfill, with as much as 91% of plastic bottles not recycled. Instead, invest in a reusable water bottle. Reusable bottles also come with great features that disposable bottles can’t complete with (such as fruit infusers, thermos protection and filtration), so shop around and find a bottle that fits your needs.

Supermarket shelf sanitary products

For the women out there, you should really rethink your period management and collection methods. Tampons can be dangerous (TSS, anyone?) and surprisingly, even organic tampons are quite unnatural. During menstruation, your body is detoxing itself so it’s really important to ‘let it out’, so to speak. Moon Cups are the most eco-friendly form of feminine care, and they’re cheaper too! The average period cup can last you up to a decade and has the benefit of being leak-proof (bonus!), so­­­ you won’t have to stock up on sanitary supplies every month.

Simple Lifestyle Hacks for Surviving the Winter ~ for The Welle Co

Commisions, Beauty, Autumn, Essentials, Lifestyle, Natural Living, Rituals, Winter, Wellbeingdanielle copperman2 Comments
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WITH WINTER IN FULL SWING, THE DAYS ARE SHORTER, DARKER AND HARSHER, YET OFTEN WE FORGET TO TAKE THE TIME TO ADAPT OUR LIFESTYLES IN ORDER TO SURVIVE THEM. LONDON-BASED NUTRITIONIST DANIELLE COPPERMAN SHOWS US HOW.

Whilst we take care to brace ourselves for the freezing conditions (think more layers, bigger boots and larger coats), too often we forget to consider the areas of our lives impacted by the cooler weather other than our wardrobes. Instead, we carry on our lives as much as normal, trying to power through and forcing ourselves to continue our usual lifestyles whilst enduring winter’s side effects (such as low energy, low moods, low motivation, skin issues and much more).

For me personally, when the seasons change (and especially during the shift from summer to autumn/winter), I try to make small changes to all areas of my life to help me continue to thrive.

I find that I naturally begin to crave more seasonal foods (which I believe, if we are tuned in to listen to our bodies, is in our innate nature) and honour these cravings;

  • Swap out a few of my daily beauty products

  • Incorporate new rituals such as self-massage and natural movement (even if exercise is the last thing that I feel like doing!)

  • Make space for little moments to pause, take a breather and tune in to acknowledge and honour my energy at least once or twice a week – especially if there’s a lot going on in my life socially or with work. Sometimes, it’s important to learn how to say ‘no’ and the winter is a wonderful excuse for this, so use it!

These little life hacks make a big difference in my life.

Struggling to find the mojo to make it through to the summer with as much energy, inspiration, motivation and positivity as possible?

Try these life hacks and watch your mood improve (you’ll also benefit from supported physiological functions, a thriving immune system and vibrant, hydrated skin – bonus!)

PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOUR CRAVINGS ARE TELLING YOU

We have cravings for a reason and our cravings speak to changes in our activity level, physiological responses and environments.

We crave carbs when we’ve worked out or run or walked for miles. We crave sugar if our blood sugar levels are dipping too low. We crave salt if our blood sugar levels are too high. 

Similarly, at different times of the year and in different climates, we need different things from our food, and nature knows that. It prepares itself for the ingredients that our bodies really need to flourish, and in winter, these foods are usually ones that keep our immune systems strong and keep our energy levels high. They’re also usually warming and grounding.

At the beginning of the year, my seasonal cravings usually include Brussels sprouts, apples, cabbage, chestnuts, mushrooms, dark leafy greens, earthy roots (like carrots, parsnips, pumpkin and beets), blood oranges and grains (like brown rice, quinoa and buckwheat).

I tend to prepare more cooked meals during these colder months as they are easier on our digestion, warm us internally and support circulation. I also try to incorporate apples or citrus fruits into most of my days too, for their abundance of vitamins to protect against viruses.

I also ramp up my adaptogen game during the colder months and add in some new ingredients to replace those I need during the summertime. Adaptogens, herbs and spices play a major part in my daily diet and I find the easiest way to use them is in smoothies or stirred through hot or cold water or plant-based milks. During the winter, I love the SUPER ELIXIR with cacao, mucuna puriens, ashwaganda, cordyceps, reishi, shilajit and maca that really do wonders to keep my energy levels and moods high (as well as keeping those dreaded winter illnesses at bay).

NOURISH YOUR SKIN

My skin always suffers during this time of year and becomes incredibly dry, fragile and sensitive, so I always make sure to switch my lighter and usually water-based summertime products with denser and oil-based products. I also exfoliate less (and use more gentle products when I do) and cleanse as usual. 

Once a month, I also do a steam with essential oils and throughout the season, I use all-natural, organic products made with whole ingredients (without nasty additives or chemicals) and most importantly, lots of natural oils (such as coconut, almond, shea, cacao and essential oils).

If you suffer from dry skin, I’d highly recommend using more oil-based products - or even just pure carrier oils - as they are gentler on the skin whilst providing rehydration and bringing balance back to your complexion. Many people falsely believe that oils will make their skin greasier and blemish prone, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In addition to being nourishing, these natural oils are often antibacterial and antiviral too and as such, keep skin clean.

STEP UP YOUR DAILY MOVEMENT

During the winter, one of the most important rituals to incorporate into your routine (at least a few times a week, if not daily!) is movement. It’s so important to keep things moving and keep your circulation in check with supported blood flow and oxygen intake. If you can’t bring yourself to work out or if it’s just too cold for a run, try to walk places as much as you can. Walking is enough to get your heart rate up so it’s a great option for those who struggle with finding the time or motivation for more strenuous activity during winter.  

It’s super important to find ways to move that are still gentle and not too stress-inducing, as this is a time when most other animals are hibernating… and to some extent, we should be too. But it’s important for us, as we continue to go about modern life and our daily responsibilities, to keep things moving. You’ll feel better mentally and physically for it!

SET YOUR INTENTIONS

Other rituals I like to practice during the winter and particularly at the beginning of the year in January include setting intentions and journaling. This really helps me to reflect on my achievements from the year, focus on what I have and note what I am grateful for – as well as helping me map out my goals for the year ahead.

I also like to use tarot cards or oracle cards if I’m feeling particularly lost, stuck or unmotivated in life. These cards can help to give you a sign, a message or just a nudge in the right direction, and you don’t have to be a pro tarot reader to use them. It works by simply putting your energy into the deck of cards and asking them questions on things you want to know or need some clarity or guidance on. I love this practice and even if it seems a bit ‘woo woo’, if nothing else it helps you to become present and grounded and always gives positive and inspiring information.

BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH THE COLD

This one’s going to hurt, but it’s actually really good for us - mentally and physically - to be exposed to the cold… not for a long time, perhaps, but for short intervals.

That’s why during this time of year, I try to take interval showers a few times a month, which means standing under cold water for 1 minute then returning it to warm water and repeating a few times. It’s like cryotherapy in your own home.

On the other end of the spectrum, it is of course super beneficial to be warm too, and so I’d suggest saunas or steam rooms to be incorporated into your rituals, at least once a month if you can.

When I’m in Sweden visiting my boyfriend, there are places you can go to jump naked into an iced-over lake, and then run quickly (with a robe of course) into a sauna nearby. It’s so invigorating, revitalising and energising and is a wonderful way to move energy, shift blockages and keep your metabolism active.

Danielle Copperman is a qualified nutritionist, food writer and chef based in London. She is also the founder of QNOLA. You can also find Danielle’s book, Well Being, on Amazon.

How to Self Massage ~ For Ecoage

Commisions, Anytime, Beauty, Natural Living, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle coppermanComment
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Massage shouldn’t be a luxury confined to the spa…

Having a massage is commonly seen to be an indulgent act of self-care; an expensive and quite frankly ‘extra’ luxury that only a fraction of us has the time and money to enjoy. It is very rarely seen as a necessary part of our wellbeing, and especially not a priority in our everyday rituals.

However, since studying Shiatsu and holistic massage last year, I became so interested in the benefits that massage has on both our bodies and minds, and how it can be used not only for relaxation but in many cases to prevent and/or to heal all kinds of physical and mental malfunctions.

When you think of massage, likely an image of a peaceful spa springs to mind, and you associate it with feeling instantly relaxed and calm. That, or it’s an unimpressive setting, maybe even a pop-up massage table in your own home, and a deep-tissue sports-style massage that leaves you grinding your teeth and in more pain than when it began. Either way, aside from it being used for pure relaxation or to reduce physical tension, there are so many other benefits of massage and issues it can ease.

Massage, of course, is relaxing, which makes it a powerful ritual to reduce stress, anxiety and even depression. Also, given the purest oils are used, it can help to make skin softer and more hydrated, and can even be used to soothe and heal irritations or imbalances. Massage can also be incredibly energising, which may seem unlikely when you think of how relaxing they can be (I almost always fall into a deep sleep during mine). But given the right techniques are used, massage can really enliven and invigorate the body and mind, and help enhance energy levels. On the contrary, it can also aid sleep and improve sleeping patterns. But perhaps one of my favourite benefits of massage is how it contributes to internal processes such as circulation, lymphatic drainage and digestion. It can help encourage circulation, reduce toxins, shift stagnant energy and diffuse internal blockages, and even improve digestive issues such as IBS, indigestion, bloating, constipation and more. And one last thing, if you think of the body in terms of energy flow and its meridians, massage used to reduce physical tension can help to redirect the energy flow of the body and mind, having major affects on the mental and emotional, reaching them through the physical and enhancing the connection and communication between the two.

Granted, this information is all well and good but it still doesn’t make going for a massage any more accessible for you, right? Well, the good news is, you can still reap the benefits of massage by doing it on yourself. Or, better yet, getting a partner or friend to help you out once in a while. Make it a ‘you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours’ kind of scenario? However you choose to do it, dissolve accumulated stress and toxins within the body and mind and enhance your mental and physical performance with a daily, or at least weekly, doses of massage. You can do a full body massage using your hands, with or without oil, improvising as you go, or if you need a little more guidance and inspiration, read on for massage sequences for specific areas of the body.

1. Neck and shoulders

These exercises are great for people who are especially stressed and who hold a lot of physical tension in their neck, shoulders and back. It is great for those hunched over desks all day too, and can even be done at your desk during the day. If you want to make it more of a ritual, use a little oil and take more time over this sequence at home after a long day. This sequence is also calming and relaxing as just the act of focussing solely on this massage can help activate the parasympathetic part of the brain, slowing busy thoughts and becoming a kind of gentle meditation.

How to:

Use the thin edge of your hand and in saw-like motions, gently hack at the neck, focussing on the trapezius muscle - the large muscle that holds up the neck and runs over the shoulders and shoulder blades and even around the upper back. Tilt your head to the left, first, and work on the right side of the neck, then repeat on the other side.

After you have done this ‘chopping’ motion, make a fist and gently use your knuckle to work around the shoulder. Have your right arm hanging loose and limp, and using your left knuckle, work in a sort of Mexican wave motion, moving the knuckles in a flowing motion over and around the shoulder. Then, release your fist and simply use your finger tips and predominantly your thumb to work more deeply into the shoulder area. Repeat on the other shoulder.

2. Face and head

These exercises are incredibly energising for both the body and mind, but are simultaneously calming. Working to energise the face and head increases alertness and can enhance focus and concentration, which makes these exercises perfect at the start of the day.

How to:
Using the fingertips of both hands, start by gently tapping them over the forehead and temples. Move the hands across the forehead and the temples, back and forth a few times. You can use as much or as little force as feels good. Gradually work your way in the same manner up the sides of the head to the top of the head, and move around the entire top, back and sides of the head a few times. Finish by bringing the fingertips forward again to the forehead area.

Next, using your middle three fingers, smooth the eyebrow areas from the centre of the face where they begin, out to the edges. Then get your thumb involved, smoothing it under the eyebrows as the fingers remain on the top of the eyebrows or just away from the face. Next, use the fingertips under the eyebrows on the upper eyelid bone to smooth and massage. I often get puffy here after sleeping so this is a great exercise if you experience the same.

Next, bring the fingertips once more to the temple and press with some force, massaging in a circular motion. Then bring the fingertips to the cheeks and cheekbones. Start by tapping the cheekbones with the fingertips, back and forth from the outer edges of the face towards the nose. Then massage the cheek area using circular motions. You can also smooth the area (this works best if using a light oil), starting at the edges of the nose and smoothing the cheeks a few times, out towards the edges of the face. You should work on the top area, the main middle area and the underneath of the cheekbones. Finish at the edges of the face, towards the ears, and using your index finger, press gently a few times into the bone that joins the cheeks and the upper jaw bone.

Then, work on the jaw area. From the cheek and jaw bone join, drag the fingertips down the sides of the jaw to the bottom join, where you back teeth meet. With you middle three fingers on the bottom jaw bone, had the thumb gently gripping underneath the jaw bone, and work in circular motions to move from the edges of the jaw in towards the chin. Repeat a few times and alternate between using circular motions and just smoothing in one swift movement.

Finally, use the fingertips to move above the jaw into the main fleshy cheek area, over the teeth and around the mouth. Work in circular motions or however feels good to massage into the muscles of the cheeks, and do the same around the area above the upper lip and below the lower lip.

Finish by working around the nose, smoothing up and down the sides of the nose and pressing with your index finger into the corners of the nose. Smooth from the nose slightly out towards the cheeks. This is especially good for sinus issues and to improve breathing .

Finish by using the palms of the hands to rub over the entire face, pulling and stretching however feels good or just lightly brushing over the face to complete the ritual.

*You could also try using traditional massage tools for face massage, such as a marble gua sha, a jade roller or other wooden or stone tools

3. Feet

We demand a lot from our feet to support us, perhaps more than any other body part, yet we rarely consider taking extra special care of them. The following massage technique helps to invigorate the flow of energy and relieve tension within the feet. Through working on the major muscles and pressure points (and meridians) in the feet we can aid many other organs and ailments in the body too, including aches, digestion and inflammation. These exercises are great towards the end of the day, and can also encourage lymphatic drainage, meaning diffusing toxins and waste matter. 

Read the full article here, and find out more about self-massage along with more rituals in my book, Well Being.

How to Boost Your Immunity This Fall ~ for Glasshouse Journal

Commisions, Winter, Wellbeing, Rituals, Natural Living, Lifestyledanielle coppermanComment
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Earlier this winter, I shared my winter wellness tips with Glasshouse Salon - one of my favourite natural / organic hairdressers and beauty salon. Find out how I keep well during the colder, darker months, below.

What do you do during the colder months to boost your immune system? Do you incorporate different things that you might not use during the spring/summer?

Yes, totally. Naturally, my body craves different kinds of foods this time of year. I never used to pay much attention to it but as I become more aware of locally seasonal foods, its super interesting to notice how my preferences adapt. I don't know if its tradition and comfort as the temperatures drop, but i start to crave more root vegetables, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits, spices, curries, soups and broths, as well as tea on tap. So in that sense, i incorporate different ingredients into my diet and cook very different (more hearty and grounding, but also energising) meals. I also take more supplements (like vitamin D, 5 HTP, multivitamins, omega fish oils, zinc, copper, probiotics - depending on how I'm feeling) to support my body's natural immune response. And i continue to drink lots of liquids - lemon and ginger, water, charcoal in water, spirulina in water, greens powders and more. I think the more antioxidants the better. It's also useful to know that sometimes, depending on the type of illness (cold/flu or sore throat or headache) will depend on which remedies work for you. Last christmas my sisters and I were all ill with sore throats (it often happens when we fully surrender and relax and our bodies just shut down!), and we were chugging ginger tea like there was no tomorrow. but it was actually aggravating our throats more. So don't just follow what you read. Do some research and use more gentle herbs, rituals and rest whenever you feel the onset of any ailment.

In terms of beauty, I change up my routine slightly as things like colder, drier weather, heating, wearing layers and more viruses in the air tend to aggravate it. I stick to the same fundamentals mostly, as i find my skin gets confused if i change my products too often - and if your regular products are natural and pure enough, they should have a variety of adaptable properties and functions that can provide for all kinds of situations, skin-types and seasons. But I will stop cleansing my face too much with water-based products (as they are more drying), and I tend to use much genteel exfoliation processes, and much fewer masks (changing to sheet masks which I find more hydrating and moisturising). I like to let the natural oils of my face stay as balanced as possible and so i try not to over-wash. I think we over-wash so much these days, that our skins normal and natural PH, oil levels and immunity gets out of whack. If you wash your face less I find the skin is trained and more prepared to cope with bacteria and dirt, as the oils of the skin are our natural protection against these things. It's only really when you've been wearing make up that you need to cleanse thoroughly. A parting note would be not to be scared or sceptical of oils, as i think many people assume they will make the skin oilier. i wear an oil to bed almost every night, and as long as your diet is in check and you are drinking plenty of water, you won't find that natural oils contribute to blemishes or clogged pores like you think they will. what clogs pores is dirt, not powerful and functional ingredients from the earth. Oils are full of essential fats (for cell growth, elasticity and renewal), as well as antioxidants and are antiviral, antibacterial and much more. I use oils as my body moisturiser too, and dry brush to encourage circulation, lymphatic drainage and to remove dead skin.

Rituals I use to elevate my immune system include yoga, movement and pranayama. Pranayama can be really cleansing for the organs and also ensure that breathing is regulated and youre sending enough oxygen around the body for vital functions. I also find movement is vital in order to keep the body feeling alive and active. I use meditation and pranayama to enhance my energy levels this time of year too, as well as yoga and other exercise. I do tapping and shaking (both rituals from my book, Well Being) in the mornings to encourage circulation, to reduce muscle tension and to warm up the body. Hot baths are great when it gets colder, as they regulate temperature. Better more, use a potent mineral-based bath soak to restore essential vitamins and hydrate. I also turn to massage more in the colder months, as the drop in temperature can lead to aching or tight joints, muscle tension and poor circulation. I have the worst circulation and am a cold person most of the year, so in the winter i get really cold hands and feet and my fingers occasionally go completely numb and lose their colour. I use oils on my body to give myself regular massages (especially on my hands, legs and face), to encourage circulation and lymphatic drainage.

I truly believe that illnesses are an indication of a much deeper emotional / mental / energetic / chakral issue. There is so much to learn in this area and it sounds pretty woo woo but it makes perfect sense to me. When I'm anxious or stressed, I always reach burnout and my body just shuts down to show me that i'm trying to make it operate at a pace that isn't normal, and to really force me to stop. When i recently felt super low-confidence, fearful and a little uncertain, I had a sore throat and my chest was tighter than ever. I went to an energy healer and she told me sore throat was associated with not speaking your truth and intense worry. And in the past I have had migraines when i've been too in my own head with thoughts and not living in the present moment. The body is so clever, so if you do feel something coming on, take time to pause and really tune in. Then the real healing can begin. It may not always be something that can be healed with food, supplements or rituals. Although, often at this time of year, illnesses are virus or bacteria based (especially in over-crowded cities), so sometimes its unavoidable and nothing personal at all! Just be aware and then you'll find what you need.

Surviving Autumn

Autumn, Rituals, Winter, Essentialsdanielle copperman2 Comments
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Autumn is a transformational time. It is a season of constant change, and one that forces us inwards - finally! After a Summer of amplified energy and consistent buzz and opportunity, Autumn is a much more grounding season and should come as a reminder for us to slow down, simplify and take inventory. By ‘slow down’, I mean to reduce our speed and energetic output, but doing less, prioritising and refocusing on things. By ‘simplify’, I mean to let go of thing that don’t really or no longer serve us, and that we don’t really, really need. These may be physical things, or they could be relationships, duties, thoughts, feelings or desires. And by ‘taking inventory’, I mean to take stock of all that you have, and practice being grateful enough that you come to realise how fortunate and abundant your life is. These are all things we know we should do without having to think about them, but we have un-learned these simple rituals and unwritten rules of life in getting caught in the current of modern life. Take this season as an opportunity to pause for a moment, to understand what you have and what you might want, and to take it easy. The easier you take it, the easier life will come.

1. Pause

Take time to pause, either once a day, once a week, or just once at the beginning of the season or each new month. Just take a few minutes to be with yourself, acknowledge your thoughts and get present whilst everything around you insists to shift.

2. Silence

Silence is powerful and whilst there is a lot of change and perhaps a lot of noise in your mind after a busy Summertime or as you head back to work or school, it can really help to find ways to be quiet. Making this space will likely bring forth more authentic thoughts and visions that are aligned with your true self - your souls intentions - that otherwise would not have been heard.

3. Declutter

We’re all familiar with the annual Spring Clean, but there is little emphasis on the importance of an Autumnal clear out, too. For me, life seems more stressful the more things I own and the more clutter I have. So for one, being tidier at this time of year (especially as we spend more times inside, too) can have powerful effects on our overall wellbeing. For two, decluttering and actually reorganising and filtering through all that you own and getting rid of what you no longer or don’t really need, is a powerfully cleansing and refreshing process. You might also use ancient traditions like smudging (burning woods like palo santo or herbs lie sage), to cleanse the energy of a space as you shift out of one season into a new.

4. Gratitude journal / positive aspects

As I said, taking stock and taking time to notice all that you have and being grateful for it is a must, all year around but particularly at transformational times. Autumn and Winter are generally colder and darker months, in the UK, and these characteristics can bring with them low energy and low moods, but making a list of things you are grateful for can be a truly uplifting ritual.

5. Stay active

Motivation will falter, but keep you exercise routines up during the Autumn and Winter for several reasons. You’ll encourage circulation and blood flow. You’ll keep fit, strong and toned. You’ll have more energy and you’ll feel mentally more positive. And you won’t face a huge struggle come the New Year / Spring / Summer that people usually deal with after being inactive for long periods of time. It is easier to keep consistently active than it is to reduce your exercise and then try to pick it up again.

6. Nourishing foods

Autumn and Winter bring forth an abundance of healing and nourishing foods, such as root vegetables, dark fruits, cruciferous vegetables, herbs and spices and much more. Make the most of seasonal produce that is actually intended to support us season to season. Make warming foods like soups and stews. And cook with plenty of spices and citrus fruits, to protect and strengthen the immune system.

7. Keep warm but enjoy the cold too

Keeping warm is a necessity as the temperatures begin to drop, however, embracing the cold also has its benefits. New wave rituals such as Cryo therapy (standing in a cubicle at -85c) are known to increase circulation, metabolism, blood flow, detoxification, mental stamina, joint and bone health, amongst other things, but there are natural (and free) ways to achieve these results too. Alternate between hot and cold water in the shower. Stand outside with minimal layers. Brave wild swimming in the sea, rivers or lakes. And on the contrary, enjoy a sauna whenever available, to encourage detoxification, purification, deep internal cleansing, reduce muscle and joint tension and encourage relaxation and reduced stress.

8. Sleep more; literally hibernate

At this time of year, animals are hibernating, and there’s no reason why we shouldn’t all be doing the same. Of course, living in a modern society we have jobs and other responsibilities to tend to, but it doesn’t mean we can’t hibernate on a less extreme level, from time to time. Do less and don’t do more than you absolutely need to. Learn to feel empowered enough to be more selective of what you say yes too, especially when there are so many things going on in the lead up to Christmas. Take pride in saying no to things and just indulging in a cosy night in doing nothing much at all.

9. Protect and prevent

Stock up on immune boosting ingredients and remedies as our immune systems are tested with a drop in temperatures and faced with local viruses. Lemon and ginger is a classic, but also experiment with turmeric, black pepper, açai, spirulina, nettle and other herbs, spices and adaptogens known to strengthen the immune system and prevent or remedy seasonal struggles.

10. Surrender

I’ve kind of covered this in points 1, 2 and 8, but I can’t emphasis enough the importance of just surrendering a little more this time of year. Surrender to the shorter days, the colder climes and the reduced amount of energy you may experience, and just embrace it. Don’t try to push past it, or work harder to stay productive. Instead, find ways to refocus your attention, redirect your energy and really take time for self cafe and self development, and you’ll end up working smarter, instead of harder.

Items and rituals to support you mentally and physically

Burts Bee’s beeswax lip balm in chai tea

Pukka herbs lemon, ginger & manuka tea

Lanolips all-natural lanolin multi-use superbalm

These bamboo socks

Bamboo blanket

Neom Natural Candles

Cosy velvet bedspread

Mugs for all the hot drinks

These cashmere gloves

An eco-friendly, rubber-less hot water bottle

A hot/cold water bottle

A recycled notebook

Autumn Outfits

As you know I am much fonder of buying second hand than buying new, but as a model I need to be up to date with the latest trends, and am constantly working with fashion brands to help sell their products. It seems a bit hypocritical, but it is my job. If you need new clothes this season, I urge you to try a few charity shops or vintage stores, or even do a swap with friends. If you’re not convinced, here’s a few of my favourite items from some of my favourite non-sustainable stores. Just promise me you’ll try to buy less, and buy quality over quantity. Only buy things you really think you will wear more than just a handful of times.

You Need to Know About This Natural Contraception - Natural Cycles

Essentials, Natural Living, Review, Rituals, Wellbeingdanielle copperman1 Comment
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You may not be familiar with Natural Cycles. Or, you may have seen it online, advertised on instagram or have numerous friends banging on about it. My guess is the latter.

Natural Cycles is changing the way I think and act about sexual activity and the female body. The app is a method of contraception, available in Europe and the US, 93% effective and completely natural. Not only that, at the opposite end of the spectrum, it also serves as a simple way to plan pregnancy. And if you’re interested in neither right now, A) one day you will be, so keep note, and B) you can also make use of the app for period planning, and simply getting to know your cycle and yourself better. You have a choice of plans available depending on what you want to keep track of; ‘Prevent’ if, as the name suggestions, you want to prevent pregnancy, and ‘Plan’, if you’re planning to conceive.

The Natural Cycles method is comprised of a basal thermometer and an app. It provides a digital space for you to take, collect and store all kinds of data about your cycle - and let’s just be clear, I mean your monthly cycle and not just the period part. You can not only track your basal body temperature (which is what helps to determine your fertility), you can also log whether you’re on your period, whether you’ve taken an LH ovulation test (which analyses the levels of luteinising hormones in your urine to let you know when you’re the most fertile), whether you’ve had sex or not, and add any other notes manually that might be important; for example, mood, energy levels, skin and hair condition, pain / nausea, sleep, diet / cravings, digestion - whatever you like!

The Story

Natural Cycles is the brainchild of Elina Berglund. She discovered that the body temperature changes throughout the menstrual cycle – something that is well-known and well-researched. She then started analysing her own temperature, applying her statistical knowledge from particle physics to detect ovulation and map out her fertile days. Using the techniques she had learned through the Higgs Boson project, Elina created an algorithm to analyse temperature readings, taking factors like sperm survival, temperature fluctuations, variations in cycle length, ovulation day, and the length of the follicular and luteal phase into account to identify fertile and non-fertile days.

She used to plan and monitor everything and her partner suggested she turn the algorithm into an app. Natural Cycles was born. Initially, it not only helped Elina and her partner to prevent pregnancy – but also to conceive when the time was right. In 2013, they announced that they were switching from the app’s “Prevent” mode to the “Plan” mode, and they didn’t have to wait long for good news. “With a little luck, and the precision of the app, we got pregnant the first cycle”.

Now the app is available and used globally and is having positive benefits to understanding how our body functions but also our our relationships, intimacy and awareness.

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How it works & how to use it

Using a basal thermometer provided, you are required to take your temperature first thing each morning (a minimum or 5 times a week) and enter it into the app. You then add the data to your app where it is then processed and logged, and working with your previous recordings and a number of other factors in the algorithm, it highlights whether or not you are fertile. The app will indicate red days as days you need to use contraception to prevent pregnancy, and green days for days when, as far as the algorithm is concerned (and depending on how consistently you have input data), you are not fertile and so unlikely to get pregnant and able to, if you feel comfortable, avoid using any other form of contraception.

A few things to bear in mind

You have to be 18 or older to use Natural Cycles.

To use NC you must ideally have a structured daily routine and are therefore able to manage the discipline and commitment required. Natural Cycles is straightforward to use but requires discipline. It is not simple, and not necessarily for everyone.

You initially need to use the app for a few months before completely trusting it, as it needs enough data and some time to get up to speed with your cycle. To begin with, until it knows enough about you, it will indicate more red days than usual to avoid any risk of unwanted pregnancy.

Users should be willing to measure a minimum of 5 times a week and use condoms on red days. You should also discuss the whole process with your partner, as it is a shared responsibility - which is great!

Natural Cycles encourages couples in a steady, long-term relationship with a structured lifestyle to use the app. It is all about being responsible and taking control, so just because it gives you a green indication, you still might want to be extra careful if you are frequently with new partners and not in a serious relationship yet.

The method does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

No contraception is 100% effective. Natural Cycles is 93% effective and note that a pregnancy can still happen even if you use a contraception perfectly.

My experience & why I use it

I used to be on the pill, from the age of about 16-22. It always affected me, especially within the first few months of using it when I remember bursting into unnecessary tears in the sixth form common room, totally uncalled for and confused. I personally didn’t get on well with the extra hormones and I feel it affected my weight and my skin slightly too. I persevered though, as, back then, there were few other options. When I got to 22 and was completely changing my diet after discovering more about unnatural foods and how to make the most of natural, healing nourishment, I also began to question why I was taking this pill everyday, which was definitely not natural. In school, you are taught and scared into believing how easy it is to get pregnant, but then when you get to older and you’re trying to conceive, you’re told its only really possible a few days a month. Obviously I understand in school a little extra discipline never hurt anyone, but I wish I had had Natural Cycles as an alternative, had I felt capable and responsible enough to commit to it. I am by no means against the pill or hormonal methods of contraception, however, I’m keen to have a more natural lifestyle and so am very, very pro this alternative at this stage of my life.

People say things like “I came off the pill with plenty of time, to give my body a chance to get back to normal”, which is such a strange sentence to me. It makes me think, shouldn’t we want our body to be in a ‘normal’ state, all the time? I think the pill is good for some people, and I know it is used for other things, such as healing acne and in some cases even balancing hormones, but I think other factors also need to be explored and taken into consideration before depending on a pill, and for anyone wanting to try something hormone-free, I would totally recommend Natural Cycles. It gives you more control and more confidence, I think. It shows that you are taking more responsibility and taking matters into your own hands, and it empowers you with knowing what’s going on with your body. It also brings you closer to your partner as it forces you to ensure that they are also involved and prepared to take part of the responsibly by understanding the process and doing their part, especially on red days.

How to take your temperature using the thermometer

Your questions

Is the pill really bad?

The pill is not bad, however from my personal experience, I didn’t get along well with the effect it had on my hormones and consequently physical and mental health. All though, it’s important to know that the pill carries many additional health benefits for some women.

How confident do you feel not to get pregnant using this and no other contraception?

I had to give the app a few months before I really felt comfortable to trust it. I feel confident that the data is accurate, however, I am still careful on ‘red days’, purely because I am absolutely not at the right stage of my life to even consider falling pregnant just yet. I feel confident and trust the app, however, no contraception is 100% effective. With NC there is a 7% chance of still getting pregnant, so you really need to ask yourself what is important and how careful you think you should be.

How do you know that your change in temp is only due to your cycle?

You need to be disciplined and consistent with taking recordings. You take your temperature before doing anything else - before getting out of bed, before brushing your teeth, before drinking anything - so that your temperature doesn’t deviate due to external factors. If it is particularly warm weather, the temperature is still accurate as your body will still work to maintain its natural body temp. However, it would change depending on if you are ill, sick or hungover. Thankfully, the app has an option to select whether your recording is taken whilst you are ill, sick or hungover, and it treats it as a ‘deviating temperature’. Basically, it doesn’t trust it. You just need to be aware of these things and honest and accurate in the data you provide.

Do you believe it will be reliable?

I would still be a little bit cautious, personally, simply because I am not ready to take any risks. At times of the month where I know there is absolutely no chance that I am fertile, then I rely wholly on this method and, so far so good!

Does it affect with your mood?

Not at all.

How do you know you are taking your temperature correctly?

See diagram above.

Is it more sustainable / eco friendly?

Yes! I guess you won’t be using so many condoms, and you won’t be consuming pills everyday which come in a fair amount of packaging, so less waste in that respect!

If you have any further questions or queries, leave them in the comments space below.