How to be Kinder in 2018

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

At the end of last year, I sat down and really evaluated what I wanted out of life, I took a look at the things that were making me happy, and those that weren’t, and decided that my focus going forward had to be to do things in service of making the happy things outweigh everything else.

With that in mind I decided to write goals for 2018 as opposed to resolutions. I wanted to have things that I could work at, things that I wouldn’t beat myself up about if I failed to keep them up. Resolutions have a certain amount of guilt attached to them (IMHO) in that nobody expects you to keep them, but society will always take pleasure in pointing it out when you don’t. I’ve had enough of feeling guilt, so I wasn’t about to put myself in the situation where I was heaping that guilt onto myself.

That is why the goals were born, and I think that is why now, in the 3rd week of March, I am still maintaining a healthy relationship with them! I thought it would be nice to share what I’ve been doing this year whilst referring to them to see just how well I’m doing. Full disclosure: a couple of the items in this post were sent to me to try out, but I only accepted them because they fit with what I am trying to do with my life, and I would have written this post with or without them.
I was originally going to make this one post but honestly I have so much to say about each goal, that I'm going to have to break it down! So welcome to the first in a series of posts about how I'm achieving my 2018 goals, starting with goal number 1:

Be Kinder to myself:

I updated this one not long after I published my goals, to also include other people, and our planet. There is a saying, which may well be a cliché, but all the good clichés become that way because they make a good point- There is No Planet B. If I do not do what I can to help the planet we live on survive and thrive, then I am not being kind to anybody, let alone myself.
Some of my closest friends refer to 2018 as the year I finally went full hippy, and you know I’m okay with that-now if they would just legalise marijuana already I could really go the whole hog-but that’s another subject for another day. For now, I want to share some of the small changes I’ve made to reduce the impact I have on this earth.

1) Bamboo Toothbrushes

I love my bamboo toothbrushes. Plastic is a real problem for our oceans, and wildlife. It sits in landfills, never degrading, it fills our oceans, killing those that dwell there, and honestly, we just don’t need to use it anywhere near as much as we do.

The amazing, and inimitable Laila from TapeParade has a great section on her blog called Going Green-it is basically my How to Guide to this new more conscious life I am trying to lead, and it was where I first discovered there was such a thing as BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSHES! Since then I have tried out two different brands and I love ‘em.

I’m currently using a gorgeous rainbow bristled one from Giving Brush, which was FREE, all you pay is the postage which is £4.88 (stated as $6.79 on the website as they are shipped from the States).
I also recently discovered a wonderful company based in Portugal called The Bam & Boo, that offer a subscription service for bamboo toothbrushes! I have it set up, so I can get a brand-new brush delivered every 3 months. You can choose soft, medium, or hard bristles, and a variety of colours and they just arrive on your doorstep when you need them! My only problem with the Bam & Boo brush I have is that it is too soft for me, so I’ve requested a harder one going forward.

2) Swapping out Single-use plastics for reusable alternatives

Staying in the same lane re: plastic consumption, I looked at the amount of single-use plastics we were using each day. The biggest culprit was sandwich bags, you know those flimsy things on a roll, that seem inconsequential? Well they all add up and cause the problems I mentioned above. At first, I investigated sandwich wraps-which are simply sheets of waxed paper that you wrap your sandwiches in (duh!), but all the ones I could find on the high street were coated in beeswax which is rarely collected with the health of the colony in mind. Bees are essential to our eco-system, and with the honey bee population having only recently started to recover from Colony Collapse Disorder, it is important to me that I don’t contribute to the devastation of any more of the little blighters. (See bees, I like you please don’t hurt me). So, sorry tangent alert! Because I couldn’t find any vegan wraps I decided to see what else was out there, and that’s when I stumbled upon Full Circle homeware products. They do the cutest little Ziploc sandwich packs, some even come with Dinosaurs (I’m told they are for “kids” or whatever but that’s neither here nor there). The Full Circle packs are all BPA free, and made with “Earth Friendly” EVA materials. I love these because you can literally pop anything you like in them, and label them with a dry wipe marker. They wash easily and keep your sandwiches super fresh.

3)  Get More water
My first step in being kinder to myself was that age-old plan to “drink more water” and my gosh was I terrible at this one! I had all the best intentions, I went and got myself a gorgeous water bottle (one with the bit in the middle for frozen fruit-I think it’s supposed to add flavour?) and I really tried to remember to fill it, and drink from it, but WATER IS BORING!!!
Like really, boring. I tried adding squash, but honestly that just made it colourful and boring.

As if by kismet (I like to believe they heard my pain in the wind) I received an email from the folks at Get More asking if I would like to try their Vitamin A water! I metaphorically snapped that poor PR woman’s hand off. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever replied to an email that quickly before, but honestly, I just couldn’t with plain water anymore! 

Guys, it's so yummy! I tried the Sparkling Blackcurrant & Blueberry first and even though I usually hate sparkling water, I honestly gulped down all the bottles they sent me in record water drinking time. It was lovely and refreshing, and not at all boring like normal water. With the vigour to drink more water renewed I marched down to my local ASDA and stocked up on the Vitamin A, and the Vitamin D (Still Mango & Passionfruit) which is also delicious.

Now I am not saying I am completely converted, I still love a good glass of Dr. Pepper, or a can of cherry Pepsi Max, but on those days where I feel like a water, Get More is my first choice.

Now with regards to being kinder to others, this isn't something you can really take a flatlay of, or even have a tangible record of. I have mostly just been checking my own behaviour when it comes to the people I encounter day to day. 

I have always had a habit of allowing the rudeness I encounter to affect my daily mood, which in turn meant I wasn't being the best version of me, when I interacted with other people. So now I make a conscious effort in every interaction to make sure that the other person smiles before I walk away. 

I still slip, like yesterday when a passenger on one of my trains shoved me in the back instead of using the sentence excuse me, I remained polite, and didn't react but I did silently wish he'd trip getting off the train. I'm only human after all, and that shove rendered me in extreme pain for the rest of the evening (chronic pain life y'all) so honestly maybe it was kind of me not to react. Maybe kindness to others is sometimes just walking away? 

On another less altruistic note, if you're looking to be kinder to other people, listen to them, read their status updates, watch their insta stories, and really listen to see what it is they need. And if you can give it to them, give it to them. Buy their art, share their social media channels, read their posts, comment on their statuses, ask them how they are. Kindness really is that simple. 

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