May 7, 2020
Written by: Clare Cogan, Customer Experience @blueland
Taking care of yourself is more important than ever. Sometimes we need to give our bodies and our minds a little extra TLC to keep us feeling healthy. There are so many different ways to practice self-care, but there are some ways that are great for you and the planet. Not all self-care has to be costly or has to generate plastic waste. With these five tips, you can take care of yourself and the planet.
1. Exercise and Get Outside!
You’ve probably heard that 30 minutes of exercise per day is important for your health. But did you know that exercising can help both your physical and mental health? According to Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-works-and-why/201803/how-your-mental-health-reaps-the-benefits-exercise) exercise is important for both short and long-term mental health. In the short-term, when we exercise we release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that impact our mood, and when they are released they put us in a good mood. So, exercise can make us feel physically fit and can work as a mood booster. In the long term, regular exercise and physical activity increases blood flow to the brain for overall brain health.
Now, just because gyms are closed doesn’t mean you can’t still get exercise. Going outside for a walk, a jog or a run is a great way to feel the benefits of exercise and sunlight, both of which can be important for your physical and mental health. Sunlight is a natural way for our bodies to absorb vitamin D, which can increase serotonin levels in our brains. Like Endorphins, Serotonin is a hormone that impacts our mood. High levels of serotonin are linked to a positive mood (https://time.com/4888327/why-sunlight-is-so-good-for-you/), and low levels of serotonin can be linked to stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that people have higher levels of serotonin on sunny days. So, a great low waste way to take care of yourself? Get outside for some exercise and the benefits!
2. Calming Cup Of Tea
One of our favorite low waste self-care activities is relaxing with a cup of tea. While it might not seem like self-care, a warm cup of tea can be just what you need to de-stress, and you can have your cup of tea completely plastic-free (https://blog.blueland.com/plastic-free-cup-of-tea/)!
Herbal teas are great for unwinding and relaxing, as many contain properties that help you feel calm. Chamomile tea is often used to help reduce anxiety, as it has a “calming effect”. Green teas and black teas can also help instill a calm feeling, but both contain caffeine, which can make some people feel anxious. Curling up with a nice cup of tea is a great way to begin or end your day stress and plastic-free!
3. DIY Face Mask
Often when we think self-care, we jump to skincare. While skincare is just one part of self-care, it is important, and sometimes giving our skin an added boost can be just what we need. Face masks are great for our skin and can give us time and space to close our eyes and relax. But not all face masks are good for the planet. Most store-bought masks come wrapped in single-use plastic packaging that can be difficult to recycle. In the case of sheet masks, they are typically wrapped in plastic and aluminum and the sheet mask itself is often made from plastic fiber, and it can even have another layer of plastic packaging attached to the mask! These materials are mixed and hard to recycle, so they end up in landfills and oceans instead.
You can skip the plastic-waste and make masks at home that will save waste and money! Check out some of our favorite masks here:
- Clare’s Brownie Batter Mask: You’ll Need: ¼ avocado (mashed), 1 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp honey
- Lydia’s Golden Glow: You’ll Need: 1 slice of banana (mashed), 1 tsp honey, ½ tsp turmeric
Journaling can be a great way to release stress and anxiety, and it can also offer you a time to express gratitude. Some people start or end their days with a few minutes of journaling, while others set a dedicated weekly time. Whatever it is, spending time collecting your thoughts is an important exercise in self-care. These tips can help you enjoy journaling while also keeping your waste low:
A digital journal: For a completely zero-waste journaling experience, consider taking your journal online. There are apps specifically made for journaling, or you can keep your journal in a document on your computer. Either way, digital journals can be great because they are convenient (you can usually use a Smartphone app and journal on the go) and they create no additional waste!
Recycled Notebook: For those of us who want to practice self-care screen-free, there are still sustainable options for journals! Choosing a journal that is made with recycled paper, and has a paper cover is a great way to keep your waste low, and skip any plastic waste. When choosing your writing utensil, opt for a refillable option like a fountain pen, so you can cut out any plastic waste from pens.
Finally, meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness and self-care and is a completely zero-waste activity! A Johns Hopkins study (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1809754) linked mindful meditation to a reduction in depression and anxiety, making meditation an important practice and exercise in self-care. Meditation has also been linked to improve focus and concentration, even after a few exercises. Not sure how to get started? There are several types of meditations, but if you’re new to the practice we suggest trying guided meditations from apps like Calm, Headspace and Simple Habit. Bonus: Set a meditation space for yourself outdoors or by a window to feel sunlight during your meditation!
While there are so many other self-care activities, these five can help you get started. All of these activities are low-waste and can be done from the comfort of your home. Give them a try!