Exercise for Happiness

Exercise. It means something different to everyone. It evokes a different emotion within everyone. For some, it’s lovely. Others, dreadful. Believe it or not, exercise doesn’t have to be something painful and exhausting. I’ve finally got to a point where exercising feels good. It helps me to calm down and de-stress, and it makes my body feel awake. I’ve found that taking on exercise in a positive way has helped tremendously in improving my attitude towards it. Here are some things that have helped me and may help you too…

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01 / Its not punishment

Don’t use exercise as a way to punish yourself. By doing that, you’ll create negative attachments to the process. Instead, see it as an opportunity to improve yourself and your health.

02 / Don’t go too fast

Take it easy. You need to be realistic in order to avoid injury and burnout. Slowly ease yourself into it so that your mind and body can adapt. Its about creating a sustainable, healthy routine.

03 / Do What You Enjoy

I personally have a few exercises that I can’t stand. I don’t enjoy them at all, and I dread seeing them pop up in a circuit. Sure, sometimes they just need to be done, but other times I replace them with a similar one I do enjoy. If you’re not enjoying the exercise you’re engaging in, try something new. It’s easier to stay motivated if you’re having fun.

04 / Rest 

You need to rest your body and give your muscles time to recover. Don’t do too much, too quickly – don’t overdo it.

05 / Be realistic

You need to be realistic with your fitness goals. If you have a busy schedule, and you come home late at night a few days a week, don’t plan workouts on those days. It shouldn’t feel like a chore. Again, its about sustainability. Trying to do too much too fast will just leave you feeling unmotivated.

These are a few things that I try to keep in the back of my mind all the time. Exercise has become something I love, and I find it therapeutic. I hope that you find a form of exercise that makes you feel good!

Nabeela x

{Disclaimer: These are all tips that I have picked up, based on my own personal experience and journey into wellness.} 

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Wellness Musings

I’ve been contemplating whether I should start writing about my ongoing wellness journey for a little while now, and I’ve decided for it – hence this post.

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I took a conscious decision to take charge of my fitness about a year ago. At the beginning of 2016, I was really ill, and it left me at the most unfit I’d been in years. I was frustrated with my body. It felt as if it didn’t belong to me. I felt weak, and very incapable.

After that, I wanted to regain my fitness, and most importantly, sustain it. I didn’t really know what I was capable of, and the thought of committing to an intensive workout plan intimidated me. However, I wanted to strengthen my body and push myself to see what I was able to do. My closest friend was doing BBG at the time and swears by it (I do too now). I started off with BBG, because its only three times and week, and I liked the fact that its structured so I didn’t have to decided what exercises to do. It told me what to do and how to do it. It was incredible. It made me so strong and I felt good. I got through most of the 12-week circuit, and then life happened, school took over and I slipped out of my rhythm again.

Over the past few months, I’ve been itching to get active and regain my wellness. I’ve been doing BBG and similar workouts – I don’t force myself. I do whatever I feel like doing. I once saw a quote – “If you fall in love with the process, the results will come.” I cannot reiterate how true that has been for me. I love exercising. It makes me feel strong, happy and energized. Its the perfect me-time carved out of my day dedicated to bettering myself. Its powerful!  Without trying to sound grandiose, this journey has changed my life. I feel stronger than ever before and its a liberating feeling knowing that your body is capable of more than it was a year ago.

I’m far from where I want to be. But as they say, wellness is a journey, not a destination. And there’s a lot more than just exercising – its about eating well too (the part I struggle with – I have quite the sweet tooth), and taking good care of your mental health – I value self-care immensely – it is so important! For me , its all about balance and overall wellness. I’m not looking for a hectic crash diet or an impossibly difficult daily circuit. I’m aiming to have a healthier lifestyle that is sustainable and that I can grow up with.

I hope that you’ll join me on a journey of improved wellness. It will make you feel good about yourself, and investing time in your health is one of the greatest ones you can make. Start small, and don’t forget – “be gentle with yourself – you’re doing the best you can.”

Nabeela x

Home

After traveling around Europe for the past twelve days, I am home. It was the best way I could possibly have spent my first two weeks as a sixteen year-old.

Traveling has woken up a part of me that I knew existed, but haven’t been very familiar with. It makes me hungry for adventure, and makes me want to do and see as much as possible. My heart is full of wanderlust, my head is full of inspiration and ideas and my gallery is full of photos. Being home feels a little strange, I’ll admit. But coming home is part of the journey.

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This trip was very different for me. It was the first time that I flew without my parents, and I learnt a lot due to the fact that there were so many things I had to do for myself. Even although it was a school trip and we had two teachers with us, we checked in ourselves, managed our own money, and were responsible for ourselves. I learnt a lot about the places I visited, but I learnt even more about traveling and myself in general, and how different things are in other countries.

I certainly am hungrier than ever for adventure and travel. I think its safe to say that the travel bug has bitten!

Over the next little while, I’ll be sharing some words and photos of the places I visited over here.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag

Nabeela x

 

What’s The Origin? / Ethical Fashion

I walk into a mall. I spot a sale on at one of my favourite stores. I rush in, my heart racing at the thought of a new shiny garment in my hands. My hands frantically rush through the sale racks. Is there nothing in my size? Its only R100! I have to take something home! Ah, finally! I spot a grey tee-shirt in a size XS. That’s something I’ll wear, right? I have another three or so at home, so I know I wear things like this. I rush to the checkout point. Stick my debit card in the machine and pay for my purchase. I get a shiny new carrier to add to my collection at home. Brrt. Brrt. The verification of purchase has come through from my bank. I get home and fling the fourth grey tee-shirt in a size XS into my wardrobe that is so full that I can’t even get to the stuff at the bottom. But, it’s okay, right? I feel good. Well, I felt good. The euphoria lasted all of ten seconds. Instant gratification. It’s worth it right? 

Does any of this sound familiar to you? It certainly sounds familiar to me. However, that’s not me anymore.

Over the past year or so, I’ve been doing more and more research into fast fashion and the implications thereof. A disclaimer before I start: I certainly don’t sport a wardrobe comprised only of ethical brands. There’s more to an ethical closet than just that.

The fashion industry has grown exponentially in my lifetime alone. There are constantly new retail stores popping up with brightly-coloured signage, luring you in, trying to get you to spend your money and in return, you’ll get another piece of low-quality clothing that you don’t need or want.

But there’s more to the clothes you wear than just the shiny, polished rack they hang on in the store before you buy it. There’s a lot more. Have you ever thought about where they come from? The hands that touched the cloth you wear on your skin? The hands that slaved away to sew up the garments that hang on the rails of high-end stores? Are those hands happy? Do those people earn enough to live? Workers in sweatshops of some of the most highly coveted brands in the world are slaving away daily, with minimal breaks, if any, to produce the clothing we purchase, without giving it second thought. To give an example, since 2010, 8000 workers in an H&M sweatshop have collapsed from malnutrition, and the heat inside the factories, to name a few.* Most of these workers were earning less than minimum wage.

Due to the meteoric growth of the fashion industry, major brands can’t keep up with demand, without compromising on quality and ethics. Now, if you’re anything like me, the whole situation makes me feel terribly guilty, very helpless, and a bit stuck. What do I wear? Ethical brands can cost a small fortune (understandably so; they pay their workers decently), and being a teenager, with an unstable body shape, I’m constantly outgrowing clothes, and can’t be spending too much.

We end up having to buy fast fashion for lack of anything else. Understanding that there is a backstory to the clothes you wear is a good place to start. Educate yourself. Do research to see which brands have the most healthy factories and pay their employees above minimum wage and shop there instead. First prize would be to shop ethical brands, but that can be costly, and is unattainable for many. Be practical, and be educated.

One way I try to be more conscious is by doing a price comparison before I buy an item of clothing. I check how much it costs at a fast fashion retail store, and how much it costs at a local, ethical brand. If the latter is the same, or less (sometimes it is!), I choose to buy the ethical brand.

By educating yourself about fast fashion and the industry, you can make smarter choices, and end up with a little more peace of mind. There are some great resources that have amazing articles and resources. One of them is Fashion Revolution, an incredible organization that is changing the way we see fashion.

Its a process and a journey. It takes time, and it takes reading and learning. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re curious about the working conditions of the employees of a factory making the clothes you wear, ask! I tweet brands all the time!

“Fast fashion isn’t free. Someone somewhere, is paying.” – Lucy Siegle 

Nabeela x

{*Source: The Sun } 

Abode

Being the kind of person who requires time to myself, and appreciates solitude, I thrive off having my own personal space to unwind, work, create and rest. The only space in the whole world that I can call completely my own is my bedroom. I have been blessed with my own room my whole life. I’ve been lucky enough to never have to share it with a sibling. It truly is my sanctuary.

Over the past few years, my personal style has evolved and changed, and I now enjoy a minimal aesthetic will a few soft colours. I like to keep my room clean, tidy and uncluttered, as I find that I am most calm when my space is in this state. I have come to learn that my environment is a direct representation of what’s going on in my head. If my space is clear, so is my head. Of course, this goes the other way around too. I honestly believe that the kind of environment that you live in has a direct effect on your wellbeing. Although I certainly can’t say that I have the ‘perfect space’, (I mean, come on now. Those only exist on Pinterest), my space is slowly evolving into everything I could want out of a room.

After lots of experimenting, and seeing what works, I feel as if I’ve come to find a good balance between a space that’s for working in and a space that’s for resting and sleeping in. It can be pretty tricky to establish the balance, but once you’ve got it, you’re good to go. Over the past little while, I’ve picked up a few tricks that have helped me to make the most of my space, and I’d like to share a few with you.

01 / Ventilate

I’m that person who will come into a room, and open windows. I can’t stand stuffy spaces. They make me feel heavy-headed and flustered. Open some windows, even if its just for a little while, to let some fresh air in. It’ll help you concentrate better too.

02 / Pare down

Living in an over-cluttered space can be overwhelming. I’ve read in a few places that people say that their space is a direct image of what is going on in their heads. If their space is cluttered, so is their mind. Having less in your room will help you immensely. Not only will you have more space, you will also feel lighter and your room will feel more peaceful. Sounds crazy? Try it.

03 / Define spaces

The average person doesn’t have loads of space in their room, but I think it is very important that your space is defined. Try not to work in bed or sleep at your desk. It’s been proven that if you study on your bed, you’re more likely to fall asleep, because your brain associates it with sleep, and rest. On the other side of the spectrum, if you spend too much time being stimulated in your rest space, such as being on a cell phone, you may find that you are unable to settle and rest easily in that space.

04 / Live

Your room is not meant to look perfect 24/7. It’s a living space after all. Trying to keep your room looking immaculate all the time can be exhausting, and may cause you to actually end up not being able to rest in your space because you feel the need to keep it tidy all the time. Balance is key.

05 / Invest

I’m the kind of person who gets visually bored very easily. After a little while, I feel the need to switch things up in my space. This doesn’t necessarily mean buying new things, but just moving things around and putting up some new things on my mood board usually does the trick. I know what my personal style is, and what kinds of things I enjoy having around me. So, I’ve invested in a few things over the past little while that I love, rather than buying hundreds of tacky décor items.

Here are a few snaps of my space…

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Nabeela x

Minimal Musings 

Over the past year or so, I’ve found myself delving deeper and deeper into minimalism, and the slow living movement. Being a visual person, and an ‘aesthete’, I was first drawn to minimalism because of its pleasing aesthetic. However, as I started reading up a bit more, I’ve come to learn that minimalism is much more than just an aesthetic. It’s a way to live. It’s not about living with less, but simply living with what adds value to your life. 

 I realize now that I’ve always been a minimalist. It just has a name now. Over the last year, I’ve cleared my closet out completely, brought in items I love, and gotten rid of items that I had hung onto just because I feel guilt. I donated them so that other people could find value in them. 

I cleared out all my cupboards and threw things out like a crazy person. Often, it took me a few purge sessions to throw certain things away, but in the end, the things that needed to go did. Just the other day, I finally tackled that pesky junk shelf and managed to produce an entire recycling bag full of things to be tossed and a bag of things to donate. 

Why am I so hooked on minimalism, you ask? It’s the lightness that comes with it. My room feels even bigger and I feel calm and at peace in my space. I truly feel as if I have a sanctuary that allows me to zone out of the world. I often get told that my room has a calm aura, and I strongly believe that it’s because it isn’t being filled with material clutter.

There are people out there who have radical notions about minimalism. Don’t be fooled. You don’t have to sell all your things and move to the wilderness, and you definitely don’t need to only own black and white things. 

You don’t have to call yourself a minimalist to benefit from a simpler and more intentional way of living. By introducing some more minimalistic habits into your life, it may help you to feel lighter and clearer. 

Nabeela x 

Iced Coffee Things

I don’t drink hot beverages. They make me feel yucky and after many times of thinking I’ll just try it one more time (which ended in me feeling sick. Every time), I decided once and for all that hot drinks are just not my cup of tea (no pun intended. Alright, fine. Pun intended). On school camps in primary school, I was the only kid who didn’t want hot chocolate and marshmallows. I don’t drink tea (which apparently makes me a very strange Indian), and I don’t like coffee (well, hot coffee. Why would I be writing this if I didn’t like coffee?)

After many years of drinking juice at and restaurants when our family went out for afternoon tea (read: everyone drinks tea – except me), I decided it was time to venture out of beverage-comfort zone and try something a tad more sophisticated than fruit juice. Enter iced-coffee (please, please, please not to be confused with coffee milkshake). I was pleasantly surprised when I had an iced-latte for the first time. It was the perfect thing for me – the taste of coffee, but in its icier form. (Side-note: anyone else feel their hearts sink when coffee shops and cafés don’t do iced versions of coffee? 21st century, people!)

A few years and many iced lattes later, and I still love them. I’ve had all kinds from different little cafés and restaurants around the city, and so, I thought I’d share a few of my favourite spots to grab a really good iced-coffee. (Iced coffees take many names: iced frappes, frosted lattes, iced lattes…)

  1. Vida e Caffe
  2. Yours Truly
  3. Seattle Coffee Co
  4. Lavazza Coffee Co
  5. Woolworths Café

After many attempts to make my own, I’ve also finally found a recipe that I can make at home and I LOVE it. The perfect start to any day.

So there goes my little ramble about iced coffee (which may or may not have been fueled by caffeine. Iced caffeine).

What are your favourite coffee spots?

Nabeela x