I wanted to write a post on living more consciously, absolutely not because I have it all figured out…but because one step at a time I am trying to be more conscious about what I eat, where I shop, what I buy and of course what I put on my skin.
Often living consciously takes so much effort and in our already jam-packed lives it is sometimes impossible to see how we have the head space to do the research to follow through on these good intentions.
I always have a million and one things whirring around in my head that I want to do – a skincare formulation course, improve my written Chinese, do more sensory play with my daughter, call friends and family more… I mean the list is EXTENSIVE. And I often beat myself up about not doing things quickly enough or letting things slide altogether.
But I believe that even with seemingly no time, if we have the right tools we can all live a little more consciously. We just need to start somewhere and make little choices regularly.
And I keep coming across and being inspired by amazing change makers who are dedicating their lives to making this easier for you and me!
Live consciously for ourselves
Being conscious for ourselves is a big topic, there are many ways to look at this. From being present in the moment to meditation to what we put into and onto our bodies.
One platform I love that caters for many different priorities of conscious living is Eartheries – it is a conscious marketplace that has a selection of brands who are focused on doing things in a more conscious way. When shopping you can filter by your most important concerns like something that is recycled or organic, or fair trade etc. It is a great idea and something I hope you will support when you are shopping for your next gift…consciously;)
Everyone’s priorities are different, and it is pretty hard to do it all! But you just have to start somewhere. Here are a few of the ways I am trying to be conscious for me:
Conscious of what we eat
I am not going to write too much about this as there is a whole lot of content out there.
But of course what we eat is crucial not only for our own health but increasingly we are seeing the huge effects of some foods on the environment.
For me, I am not a vegan nor do I imagine I ever will be. I crave the variety and the nutrients I get in many meats and fish. However, we do eat vegan food pretty often at home, there are so many amazing “hacks” for vegan twists on classic dishes that taste amazing and are full of goodness.
Conscious of what we put on our skin
If this is not your first time on this blog then you know that this is very close to my heart. I believe that we can have amazing skincare, makeup and body care that are free from questionable ingredients. We do not need to compromise anymore – you will find amazing products that are packed full of active ingredients that will nourish and heal your skin. Natural makeup has also come on leaps and bounds and the product performance is not only as good as the best mainstream brands but there are makeup products that are actually good for you skin – no more pore clogging paint!
If you want to see what we use at home from face creams to lipsticks, deodorants and baby products there are many dedicated articles on this blog but this post might be a good starting point – My Organic, Natural, Non-toxic Beauty
Conscious of our mind
This is the most difficult of the three for me, without question. Through my fertility journey I was forced to change how I ate and what I put on my skin. But my mind… I managed to work on my mindset in terms of being positive and still working on being satisfied with life as it is now, whilst still striving for the future.
But my mind wanders constantly it’s an endless whirr of what I should be doing, what I have forgotten and what I need to do next. I want to quieten it, calm it but I have found it very challenging – still very much a work in progress….if the baby doesn’t wake up too early I try to sneak a 10-min meditation podcast which helps as it is guided and forces me to concentrate.
Live consciously for the environment
This is such a hot topic. It is fantastic that there has been so much media attention and focus on minimizing our impact on the environment – it’s been a long time coming!
One Instagram I really like is The Green 52 – they give you weekly tips about how to live a more sustainable life. They have so many ideas – some of which are might be obvious but others you might not have thought of. For example, I need to buy some rechargeable batteries – we don’t use many batteries but every little bit counts.
Conscious of how our food is packaged, served and disposed of
Plastic waste in particular has been getting a huge amount of publicity recently and rightly so.
Plastic free July was a huge movement on my Instagram feed with people all over the world struggling to find food that wasn’t wrapped in layers of unnecessary plastic – through these types of movements consumers have won big and small battles. From governments enforcing payment for plastic bags to big supermarkets and brands offering more free-from plastic packaging options.
In Hong Kong wet markets are a great way to avoid pre-packaged goods, but you have to be quick to tell them you don’t want the plastic bag!
Single use plastic in general is on the way out – so many of us carry around reusable water bottles, bring our own cutlery (still WIP) and refuse straws…it is hard to always remember – but every one you refuse counts.
Just had a thought for any amongst you who like bubble tea…. has anyone found a reusable cup designed for bubble tea???
Conscious of what and how we buy our clothes
The fashion industry is one of the top 5 most polluting industries from the waste of the clothes we throw away to the water it takes to create clothes (10,000 litres for one pair of jeans!!) and toxic waste from textile dying is one of the largest polluters of clean water.
Over 10 years ago Christina Dean started up an NGO here in Hong Kong whose aim was to reduce textile waste in the fashion industry. Now they are well-established and they achieve a huge amount from minimizing negative impacts to promoting innovation and a circular economy.
There are a few tips from them that really resonated
1. Wear more and wash less – I am already pretty good at this… I don’t wash most of my clothes after every wear (certain items excluded of course!!). Excess washing not only means your clothes will wear out quickly but also for fabrics like polyester as the fibres enter the waterways, oceans and play havoc with its ecosystems.
2. Evaluate what you have before you buy more – this is a lot of effort and I haven’t done it in ages but I will do it sooooooon! I would love to do a session with a stylist like Sheryl from Make my wardrobe. Her services focus on what you already have vs. buying new things. To have someone help me look at how I can use clothes in different ways, in different combinations would be amazing – any volunteers?
3. Ditch the nasty chemicals – the laundry detergent you use may be bad for the environment as well as you, full of nasty chemicals – you can still get good results from more natural products. We use Nellie’s products available in Hong Kong on iherb but there are lots of choices.
Lots more ideas, details and inspiration can be found at redress
And for your little ones try Retykle it is a site where you can buy and sell secondhand designer kids clothes – amazing seeing as the little things grow soo quickly! Sarah Garner set it up about a two years ago. Not only do they make selling your unwanted clothes easily but they have lots of amazing choice of ‘as good as new’ items to buy.
The struggle with conscious living
I am not going to pretend that this is all as easy as popping into your local supermarket grabbing the closest veg wrapped in plastic, heading to Pret for a salad in plastic packaging, going to Zara for a wardrobe crisis fix and heading to Sasa for some cheap lippy.
Living more consciously does take more effort but it doesn’t have to be hard or take up lots of time and you certainly don’t need to do everything all at once.
Our lives are all a juggle, having children or your own business or a demanding job all add to this juggle but in the end life is for living so do it consciously for you and for the next generation.