What better way to end of the 2017 than with a final look back on my Wellness and Holistic Living Journey this year. In Part 1 of this journey, I talked about my journey with yoga, pilates and exercise, and how I have changed my beauty routine to include more holistic practices and eco-friendly products.
Both of these journies have helped me grow in my wellness practices and have spilled over into my meditation practice and entire lifestyle change I have undergone during the last months of 2017.
Today’s post focusses on these two journies.
I grew up in a Christian family and although I am a devote Christian, I haven’t felt at home in the church for a long time . Old men standing up there telling me what the Bible, and God, says and wants, but never speaking about real life. Always talking at me and never to me. I found God again in my private time, my meditation. In truth, I’ve been meditating since before I started the practice.
For me, meditation and prayer have always been intertwined. When I began practicing meditation a year and a half ago I tried to simply clear my mind and think of nothing, but it was impossible. I had always spoken to God throughout my day and I couldn’t simply shut Him out now. So, I changed my focus to incorporating prayer into my meditation.
Almost like a mantra, I now focus my mind on one or two things I want to speak to God about and repeat those thoughts, questions, ideas, intentions, over and over. I also incorporate a short list of about three things I am grateful for that morning.
I cannot start a workday morning without my meditation anymore. It is my quiet space, my me-time, and my way of setting my intention for the day, realising the things I am grateful for, and finally, it has brought me closer to the universe and God. Meditation has even inspired me to delve back into reading the Bible with a more critical mind than the church ever allowed us to.
Where practicing meditation and changing up my exercise regime with pilates and yoga can sound like the biggest wellness changes in my life, I have to admit I have experienced real change in the small things. In the mind shifts I started making every day.
My holistic beauty regime journey and lifestyle journey have gone hand-in-hand, the one leading from and into the other. We’ve made small changes to our eating and consumption habits and each new act of living more eco-friendly has, in turn, made us more aware of how we consume and what difference we can make.
Our first step was to start saving water. The Western Cape region in South Africa has a severe water shortage (they say by March there will be no more water in the city and surrounding areas, no more water as in ZERO). That, on top of not having had water for a full five days because of a burst pipe, has made us realise more and more how valuable water is.
We started a water saving system using our shower water for all kinds of things. I wrote a blog post about it with a couple of tips and tricks on how to save and reuse water.
We’ve also taken to the “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down” thought when it comes to the toilet. Did you know a toilet uses 6 litres of water with every flush! It really is very unnecessary to waste that much water if it’s just you and no guests.
It’s a small change but we have seen a decline in our water usage and we are more aware of how we use (and misuse water). It’s a sense of pride to wash your clothes with water you saved and knowing you’re doing your bit.
Our second step, was to get back into recycling. We’d become lacks on recycling since moving to a busier part of Johannesburg, but it was important for us to start doing it again. It wasn’t easy to start again (I wrote an earlier blog post about recycling in Joburg as well), but I am happy to say we are in the habit now of simply putting our recycling bag in the car every weekend and dropping it off at the Pick-it-Up recycling Garden Centre.
I wish we had a little garden so I could start a compost heap. For now we are collecting our biodegradable trash (food etc) in a separate dustbin and taking it to my parents’ farm when we go to visit over weekends. It’s not ideal and it is something we are planning to look into improving in 2018. For now at least we have made a plan and are doing our bit.
At the same time, we are trying to be more conscious about packaging, remembering to take bags with to the shops and then if we get plastic bags, to reuse them and not simply throw them away. We’ve also realised that there is nothing wrong with carrying a few things in your hands from the shop (if there’s not too much of course). I am also trying to create the habit of taking a plastic container from home with for leftovers after eating at a restaurant. This one has been harder to learnt than the others (maybe because it is outside the house and comfort zone), but in 2018 I will stop using takeaway packaging.
Living holistically also means taking care of your body and I have become more aware of my eating habits. I’ve always loved breakfast, but I have been experimenting with adding more fruits, berries, chai seeds and granola to my breakfasts. By adding slow energy releasing extras to my breakfast I have more energy throughout the day.
My goal for 2018 is to learn how to make more fresh foods and build up my smoothie recipe stash. Maybe even share some more healthy recipes on the blog.
As I mentioned in Part 1, my exercise regime has become more holistic. I’ve learned to listen to my body and not over exercise but also not not exercising just because I feel a bit lazy. I feel stronger now than ever before (even in school when I was a top athlete) and I love my body. I am excited for Midmar (which I’m training for) and after that I want to challenge myself in more races.
Stemming from exercise I have also learned to take care of myself better. Self-care is so important and I learned so many new self-care methods and tricks from Suzy Reading’s book The Self-Care Revolution.
I’ve realised how important it is to give myself a break sometimes, but not just give myself a break, consciously take time for myself. Two weeks ago I took a whole week off blogging and I didn’t feel guilty at all, because I needed it. I am also allowing myself to now sometimes spend some money on myself, buy that R30 smoothie, eat the most expensive pasta on the menu, get a manicure, watch your favourite series (2 episodes in a row). Consciously I am being nicer to myself and I am happier doing it.
I cannot believe that I’ve only been on this journey for 5 months! It has been an empowering and inspiring journey to embrace the world of wellness and living a lifestyle which is in unison with nature and the environment.
This journey has also opened my eyes to how destructive we are as people, especially to the environment. It is painful and has made me very disappointed in my fellow man, but it has also pushed me to start inspiring others, even in small ways (I am implementing a recycling system at work as well now).
I am so excited to see what 2018 holds for me (and the husband) on this wellness and holistic living journey. I hope you will keep following me on this journey and will be inspired to make a difference as well.