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Low-Waste Kitchen Hacks for Busy People

Living a fast-paced lifestyle is a convenience we have grown increasingly comfortable in, but like everything else, such comfort comes at a cost. The price we are paying for convenience is a considerable one.

Our convenient lifestyle that accommodates our need always to be on-the-go comes at the cost of the environment, which is why, I wanted to share with you some simple methods that I try to use, to keep with my eco-friendly values while maintaining that sense of convenience daily.

I live a lifestyle vibrant with entropy. No two days ever look the same. I need a structure in place to help me function properly, even to be able to perform the most basic of tasks like, eat, or maintain some level of sanity. I am sharing with you today just a few of the things that really help me and hopefully help you as well.

Make your own drink!
Who doesn’t love a warm/cold drink in the morning? Having tea or coffee every morning is something we all look forward, too, it gets our day going. Unfortunately, on the busiest of days we can be tempted to get one at a shop, but making your own, at-home drink could make all the difference for the environment since most of these shop cups are not recyclable or compostable. Every day millions of us around the world buy these cups and dispose of them. When a single person buys one cup of coffee every day, it builds up the numbers landing in the trash.

Try to make your own, help the environment and of course, hence, help yourself!

I’m a big believer that your morning routine starts the evening before. Every night I set out my coffee needs (cup and top) and have the water ready in the fridge. I have my coffee already ground and store it for use in the morning. When the morning arises, I can quickly put it together while I am getting ready. I then put it in my thermos, and I am prepared to go. It’s quick, and it’s easy, and you don’t have to think about it.

I stopped going out for coffee in the morning when I realized it just wasn’t any faster. You’re probably not saving any time by making a 20-minute trip and waiting in line to get a coffee. It’s that extra step that will help you maintain your convenient lifestyle without having to give up your eco-friendly values.

Freezing prep for your meals
I love freezer meals. I measure it out so that one mason jar is enough food for one person. I can layer the rice on top of the beans and then add a sauce or vegetables. You can let them thaw overnight, and then you can throw it in your bag on your way to out or for a convenient meal.

You can heat the glass, but you have to remove the lid off the mason jar and put it in the microwave.

You can also save most of your glass jars and use them for this purpose. When you freeze something in a glass jar, make sure there is enough space between the liquid and the top since liquids expand on solidifying. When you heat up your to go meal, make sure to let it thaw and defrost naturally or the glass will be shattered and can cause harm, not to mention it is a pain to clean!

Yes, I know this from experience!

You can freeze individual serving sizes of things like hummus in little containers and just let them thaw in your bag when you head out. By the time you are ready to eat it, it is prepared!

Please remember, if you have plastic containers, it’s OK to use them to freeze. Just make sure that they are safe to be microwaved. Some plastics leak toxins into your food and your body.

Mason Jackets!
The condensation on the outside of the glass was causing a mess in my bag. The jar also can be sweltering and hard to touch with your hands if it is heated. I’ve been grateful for how convenient jackets are for my needs!

I love them, and they’re brilliant. The jackets come in a variety of different materials like silicone or cloth. You wrap them around your mason jars, they protect them from getting broken, and they protect your hands when you hold it.

It takes away a little bit of the stress during the day because I don’t have to worry about these small, simple things. I can go about my day without having to worry if the mason jar’s broken and caused a disaster in my bag.

Pre-chopped frozen veggies
Chop those vegetables up, put them in a container and fill it with water then pop them in the fridge. Not only do your veggies remain fresh and crispy, you always have a healthy snack at hand. Just think of eating crisper carrots and celery with your thawed hummus throughout the day. It’s like you went to the store on days you don’t have time to stop, and it requires less packaging.

It works wonders. The best part is that you could do this with almost any product, It’s comfortable, convenient, and helping maintain a cleaner Earth.

The multipurpose ice-cube tray
You can use the ice trays as measuring devices to measure the individual sizes of things like lemon juice or vegetable broth. You can put them in the ice tray, and then after they’re frozen, you put them in a jar, You’ll end up with frozen individual-sized servings in bulk quantities.

You could do the same with silicone muffin or cupcake pans for more significant portions.

You can also use your ice-cube tray to make homemade candy and other treats! One easy recipe is, buy chocolate chips, melt them down, put a little in the bottom of the tray and then add nut butter or fruit, top with a bit more chocolate, and you have package-free butter cups and bonbons.

Be creative
Instead of buying unique products that are marketed with “eco-friendly” agenda, you can use those everyday things lying around your house. For instance, instead of putting the leftover in zip locks or unique wraps or containers, just put the food in a bowl and close it with a plate. Alternatively, cut old fuzzy socks for jar jackets or you could even a knit or crochet. It’s effortless to make one of those jar sleeves and a great way to use up scrap yarn and recycle old clothing.

BONUS HACKS:
Here are a few simple tips that could help you along the way:

  • Prep your food for the week on Sunday nights, you could be watching Netflix or listening to some music.
  • Also, try storing herbs, green onions, celery, etc. upright in a few inches of water to retain its crispness.
  • Lastly, the plastic bins with screw-on lids are GREAT to reuse for things you buy in bulk and for art supplies like crayons or markers.

I hope these tips and hacks prove useful to you. They are effortless to execute and efficient. However, this might not work for all of you. You may need to be slightly altered your practices from time to time as life gets in the way. Just remember to be a little creative and find different styles and structures to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Let me know some tips that have helped you spare more time in the morning or in life, just leave a comment below.

Also, check out my Amazon Associate Store if you need some inspiration for your journey. Here it is: https://amzn.to/2YJdfbn

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31-Day Challenge: Great Journaling Prompts for Self Love and Self Care

In today’s mostly digital, paperless reality, the thought of the journal might evoke ideas of hidden young crushes or something that you “used to do.”

However, why keep a journal?

As you get older, the benefits of maintaining the journal become stronger. The journal will be valuable — documenting what you did and where you were. Examples include cases, where you want to remember what you thought on a particular day or event. Not to mention, it will help with critical thinking and your anxiety. It has helped mine.

So, in July, I will write one prompt each day. I will ask Siri to pick a number from 1 to 31 and then write about the prompt related to the number that she has announced. It is reasonably straight forward. I hope you join me on my journey. I would love you hear what you have to say. So please, send me your blog link relating to this challenge.

Below are the challenge’s writing prompts for July.

  1. How have you grown this year?
  2. What’s holding you back?
  3. Describe a scene from your day.
  4. How can you give yourself a break today?
  5. List & draw things that make you happy.
  6. When in your life, did you feel your best?
  7. What habits & actions did you do to feel amazing?
  8. Where was your headspace right now?
  9. What’s on my to-do list today?
  10. What’s one positive change I can make in my daily life?
  11. What good habit do you want to begin this month?
  12. Going forward, how can you commit to loving yourself every day?
  13. What would your life be like if you didn’t have stress?
  14. How would you describe yourself, affectionately, to a stranger?
  15. What things make you feel bad, but you find yourself doing them anyway?
  16. Make a list of 10 things that make you smile.
  17. What are your 10 worst habits, and how do they impact your life?
  18. When was the last time you indulged yourself and how?
  19. Write about something you do well.
  20. What’s something that you need to get rid of?
  21. Whom would you invite to an imaginary luncheon, and why?
  22. What do you love right now and how it makes you feel.
  23. Where do you want to travel?
  24. Who is someone you admire, and what are their qualities?
  25. Take a selfie just as you are. Write a description of your face using loving words.
  26. What are your ten best talents?
  27. What friendship that you’ve had was the most meaningful?
  28. What is the unique thing about you? Do you like to hide it or let it show?
  29. What is your superpower?
  30. What is one thing that you regret and why?
  31. Write a bucket list.
Have you loved yourself today?

This challenge is cheap and is great for your mental health and can easily be added to your daily routine. Try to add it into your morning or evening practice so you can start to make it a habit. I usually keep this list by my bed. I’ll use a prompt and write in my journal each morning when I wake up.

Writing for a few minutes every day doesn’t sound so scary, does it?

The trick is that all of this adds up and promote healthy well-being.

I hope you found this journal prompts for self-care useful.

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Weighted Blanket vs. Night Time Anxiety

My anxiety causes a lot of sleeping issues. I have rituals and a need to do many things before I can actually fall asleep. I am a deep sleeper, except when my anxiety takes hold. If there is a nagging thought, it will not let me sleep. I physically can’t sleep. I wanted a weighted blanket because I envisioned it helping me get me to a more peaceful night’s sleep.

My difficulty in sleeping stems from having a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) & obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Anxiety and sleep are intimately entwined. I often sleep better on days when my anxiety is low. When I’m contemplating several things, I tend to have a hard time falling asleep, or it takes longer to get back to sleep.

Sleep problems can also cause anxiety, too. For me, a bad night’s sleep heightens my anxiety. The next day my mind is like a quiet storm raging under the surface. To control my thoughts, I do way too many OCD habits to calm and control my nerves.

I’ve tried everything to get more restful sleep: a white noise machine, pills, earplugs, and therapy. All are helpful but not enough to help me ultimately. Therapy has helped me manage my anxiety, but it serves as more of a long-term strategy than a daily implementation.

Last winter, I realized there was one thing I hadn’t tried yet: a weighted blanket. I read about their ability to calm nighttime anxious people.

Would this finally be the cure to my sleep problems?

Weighted blankets create deep pressure touch, which is thought to help calm the nervous system of people in states of heightening sensory arousal. This is the theory behind why some children with autism may respond to the use of weighted blankets or vests during moments of sensory overload.

These blankets are quite expensive. The price increases with the weight of the blanket. Most 15-pound blankets I saw online were around $120.

Though the blanket was only 15 pounds, it felt insanely heavy the first time I took it out of the bag. I could barely lift it. The dead weight makes the blanket very difficult to hold unless it’s rolled into a ball. The weighted blanket initially did feel bulky and constrictive. I also had trouble adjusting it and worried I had invested in another failed sleep solution.

I was also initially worried that I would get overheated under the weight of the blanket, but I didn’t at all. Despite its weight, the blanket I purchased was surprisingly cool and breathable.

On the first night of using it, I laid down in bed and struggled to arrange the blanket on top of me because it was so heavy. The first few nights, I used the weighted blanket, I woke up to find it on the ground next to me.

Then, I had a very anxious day. A million deadlines were looming. Worried thoughts seamlessly entered my mind, and I had trouble finding my breath, much less closing my eyes. I knew a horrible night of sleep was ahead of me, and the rituals always seemed to calm my nerves. I consciously decided to lessen the grip on my routine and use the blanket.

I cozied up under my weighted blanket and was surprised when, eight hours later, I woke up still beneath it. I had tossed and turned a handful of times throughout the night, but never kicked the blanket completely off of me.

I woke up feeling well-rested and calm. My neck wasn’t as tight as usual. The thoughts were looming in my mind before bed had vanished and seemed insignificant in the light of day.

Over the next two weeks, I slept with the weighted blanket each night and woke up beneath it each morning. I began to feel a wonderful sense of calm when I’d cozy up underneath it before bed.

I enjoyed the feeling so much I even began using the blanket when reading before bed or surfing the internet.
Merely having it rested against me from the waist down was soothing in a way I hadn’t ever experienced.

I’ve used the weighted blanket on and off for the past month and can confidently say it’s a routine I’ll maintain.

It’s not a magical cure for my problems. However, it’s surprisingly effective at helping me achieve better sleep and decreased my need to complete my rituals before bed.

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Blacken Matcha Detox Tea

I decided to share an impromptu recipe for a delicious detox tea.

I had an upset stomach this week. It was like everything I ate had no taste. I also couldn’t stomach most things. Desperate to find something to help my sour tummy, I concocted a recipe for a matcha detox tea. It may or may not have helped, but I did feel better a couple of hours after drinking it.

It also tasted amazing.

I had all the ingredients in my pantry, so for something so good. I didn’t have to pay a ton of money.

I hope you enjoy this tea too!

Dry Ingredients:
1/4 tsp of activated charcoal
One packet or 1 teaspoon of matcha
1/3 tsp of turmeric

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup (8 oz) of hot water
A dash of ginger
1 tsp of agave nectar
Ice cubes

First, I mixed the dry ingredients into the hot water. It doesn’t matter the sequence, but I added the matcha, then the charcoal, finally the turmeric. I stir until the dry ingredients are dissolved.

Secondly, I had the agave and ginger to the mix. I blend until it is well combined.

I let it sit for about two minutes and stir the tea again.

Finally, I mix in the ice cube and stick the glass in the refrigerator until it is cold or I am ready to drink it.

That’s it!

It is a yummy treat for my ailing tummy.

Please let me know if you have an ice tea drink that you love to have during times when you a sick or just relaxing. Please leave a link in the comments below.

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Giving Up My Ways

I wanted to share with you five ways in which I try to implement a healthy lifestyle. I don’t mean just by eating healthily or to workout. These things are a given for any healthy lifestyle, but I wanted to cover the other things that I find help me stay well when I am feeling or not feeling my best.

So, here they are:

One: Giving Up Bad Habits
Implementing a healthy lifestyle is to give up your bad habits so that you can make way for good ones. We all know what our bad habits. We have habits or things that we do in our life that doesn’t make us feel good. Some of it you are aware of and others you may not have a clue of it. However, you know very well that some things in your life don’t make you feel well or hold you back. Whether that’s a person, a job, your diet, not working out, debt, not getting enough sleep are all things that you don’t want to be incorporated into your life.

You can write all the things that you want to let go of so you can create space for those new habits. An example could be if you go to bed too late, maybe set the alarm to go to bed earlier. The goal is to take something negative and create a positive habit out of it.

It is suggested that it takes 21 days to create a habit, so if you are starting a newer practice, make sure that you’re keeping track. You can use a marker and with each day you that achieve it. You mark it. If you don’t, you start again. Eventually, that new habit will be ingrained into your mind and body.

You always have to be realistic about your new habit changes. You will get overwhelmed if you do too many at the same time. I would recommend looking at your harmful habit list and seeing if any, can be organized together.

Once they are organized, you can see how they are related and create a habit system and complete one habit that will help lead to the next bad habit to conquer. For instance, going to bed late and getting up late in the morning. Perhaps work on going to bed early first. Once that healthy habit has been established, the next logistical practice to create would be to get up earlier.

If you set up too much too soon, you’re going to end up stumbling, failing, and then end up quitting. Small changes in your daily routine will end up creating more prodigious healthy habits in the long run. You’re not going to be seeing instant results. You are looking to change your lifestyle, and you still want to live your life, you need to have the new habit feel natural in the long run.

Two: Mental Check-ins
When you check-in on your mental state, you are checking in with your body, mind, and space. Mostly, you are mindful. Your mindfulness is a huge component of starting a healthy lifestyle. You cannot start a healthy lifestyle if you are not mentally into it. You have to examine where you are right now.

You have to look at yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically within your area. When you check-in mentally, try to accept where you are, and where it’s at right now. When dwelling on the past or looking too much into the future, you are taking in a negative mindset. You are blocking your potential to create and implement a healthier lifestyle.

Mindfulness, at the beginning of your healthy lifestyle, is going to be detrimental to the success of it. Our mind is the reflection of what we see externally, but a massive part of our mindset stems from the internal representation that we see our inner self. You can create mindfulness through a multitude of different exercises, journaling, listening to music, taking a nature walk, practice gratitude, and positive self-talk. The positive narratives help set positive intentions for your day that can help in your mindfulness journey.

Three: 10,000 Steps
Focus on walking. I aim for about 10,000 steps in a day. I have been implementing walking into my life. I’ve been using my phone, but you can also estimate that 2 hours of walking in a day is about 10,000 steps. This doesn’t mean straight walking or even a long distance walk. It can be cleaning your home, parking at the back of a parking lot, walking to work, or going to the bathroom, or even taking the stairs, every step counts. So, two hours in your day of walking isn’t a lot. You can do little things to reach your 10,000 step goal.

You’ll be amazed how much walking you can incorporate into your daily routine. When you have a body stationary, it creates a loss of connection to the world and can increase the likelihood of depression. There is so much to benefit from moving your body. It creates flow not only with your organs but with your brain and your positive well-being.

Four: Clean-up Before Bed
I find by putting things away and creating a clean environment. I tend to have a positive morning. No one likes to wake up to a messy room. You may feel slow and unmotivated. In the morning, you may worry about the dishes in the sink or decide not to eat a healthy breakfast because there is no room to cook. It’s not the best way to start the day.

I like to do my daily prays and reflections at night. I can reflect on my day create stillness in my mind while I am tidying the end of the day. It’s an excellent way to clean up my mental trash before I go to bed. This practice helps my mind feel refreshed in the morning.

Five: Surround Yourself with Positivity
We all do this. We are in a funk, so we gravitate to the negativity that surrounds us. I know I have a hard time listening to how great someone has when I am suffering. However, this is a perfect time to listen to the positive. Your brain with a click and a switch, and you will stop resisting the negative pushback.

What I do is put on a playlist that makes me happy, meditate as I am cleaning, journalling for five minutes, sitting in a crowded cafe and listening to other laughter or even watching an adorable cat video could help me see a little bit more positivity in your life. Once you have that moment of realizing you are not quite in the funk, please do something to extend yourself to a better place, like talking to a good friend or writing an email to a coworker or family member to let them know they matter. I am surprised how this action can change my whole outcome for the day.

Implementing wellness in your mind every single day helps you create a positive space in every aspect of your life. Wellness is emotional, spiritual, and physical. Make sure that you’re doing things every day to create wellness and better behaviors.

You are all you have, so make the most of today.

I hope you found this piece to be helpful. If you have any suggestions or ideas, I would love to hear from you.

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My Spiritual Self Care Routine

A new month is nearing, and I thought I would share some ways that I was practicing self-care and healing last month.

I enjoy connecting with the natural world by acknowledging this valuable Earth and its resources. I do not attempt for perfection in my journey, even now.

I know that some people are ready to jump into self-care and self-development but might feel overwhelmed with where to start. I hope that I can share more acumen with all of you.

Go Barefoot:
Earthing is the practice of shoeless walking. It feels good to go barefooted and do this with confidence, without craving the acceptance of others. I feel grounded on this Earth and get the sensation that I do belong on this planet and this Universe.

Breathe Mindfully:
I often hold my breath and looked tense when things get a little rough. I have experienced more emotional security and calm after following different breathing techniques. Mindful breathing allows me to be more in the present moment. It helps me better cope with my anxious feelings.

Healthy Nourishment:
I drink celery juice and smoothies every day, and I also take supplements. When I support myself entirely through nourishment, I can extend the same to those around me. I try to promote joy not only for myself but for all living beings.

Try Yoga:
I practice yoga. I don’t focus too much on the perfection of my form, but more so on my breathing and the awareness that I feel in my body and mind. I try to stay mindful even through the discomfort.

Connection through Meditation:
I started meditating about ten years ago. I was not able to focus in the beginning. It took me a few years to be aware of my breath and posture. I try to keep up with my morning prayers. I also express affirmations daily when I meditate. I do this to unite with the divine being and my spiritual self.

I’m grateful that you stuck around to read what I have shared.

Please let me know if you have practice any self-care routines in May, and how did you feel about it? Do you intend to continue self-care or start in June?

I hope so!

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Here is a Question: Why minimalism?

A question that seems to have become repetitive to me since I’ve turned to a minimalist lifestyle has been, why minimalism?

Such a question is only natural when others recognize the fact that you’re straying from the physical development of society and stepping away from conventional views in buying and owning objects.

Before I answer the question, why minimalism. Let’s first determine what specifically minimalism is really about. It’s a reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess material. Contrary to what many people may believe minimalism is, it is not solely about getting rid of your possessions. It’s also about reassessing your life and the things in it such as ideas, relationships, activities, and possessions. It’s looking at reducing those things that do not hold any priority. I believe minimalism is about becoming more intentional with both my belongings and all the different aspects of my life.

Here are a few of the reasons why I chose to embrace a minimalist lifestyle.

  • I’ve decided I want to be more selective about the things that I bring into my life.
  • My mind was scattered all over the place, and I can never seem to focus on one thing at a time.
  • My apartment was getting filled up with clutter. I was getting sick and tired of having to look at it and deal with the disorder every day.

It just made sense for me at the time to look into minimalist living. I’m living in a studio apartment, so I already didn’t have many things. The things that I did have was just an accumulation of miscellany in clutter that I’ve just accumulated over the years.

I understand that for the majority of people, this is not a sensible thing to consider. You may not be able to pack up everything and get rid of it all at once. I suggest for you is to really analyzing what you do need and what you can probably live without and go from there. Little by little, just getting rid of things until you finally feel like you’re in a point that you are content.

Although minimalism may not be for everybody. I’m glad that I’ve chosen to implement it into my life because the benefits it brings me never seemed to cease. My mind is clearer. I spend less money. I use my time on only the
things that bring me value. It just makes sense to me to live this lifestyle.

I know that it’s easy to say “do it,” but even small actions can add up. I hope you found this helpful. I would love to know what you do or how you feel about your practice into minimalism.