Musings

On Body-Positivity / Self-Acceptance

Today I’m going to sharing some thoughts about a topic that is really important to me, and affects everyone. Arguably one of the biggest issues that young and old people alike in today’s world, is low self-esteem. With a constant slew of photo-shopped, airbrushed and perfected people in the media being pushed down our throats on a daily basis, it comes at no surprise. Comparing ourselves to a photograph that a professional has spent hours editing and perfecting can be pretty awful. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the sinking feeling of dissatisfaction in ourselves at some point. Firstly, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. Your feelings are valid, and you’re not being silly. Next, I’m hear to hopefully teach you some things (with some help of wise and insightful people) that’ll hopefully set you on a path of self-acceptance.

Accepting your body with all its flaws, and appreciating everything it does for you can lead you to feel so much more confident in your own skin and ultimately bring you more happiness. Also, remember that you are not defined by the way you look.  Appearance isn’t everything. After all, its pretty hard to feel bad about your body once you start thinking about the billions of cells and micro-organisms whose only care and purpose is keeping you alive and healthy.

Now, I definitely don’t consider myself an expert, and body-positivity is definitely something I still struggle with, but I’m learning and slowly making progress, day by day. Patience, dear hearts.

I asked some of my favourite advocates of body-positivity and self-acceptance, to share some advice on becoming more body-positive…

Cari Turner, Get Well Club

“My first tip when it comes to embracing your body and becoming more body positive in general is to stop playing the comparison game. This can be extremely tough as we’re bombarded with images of other people on social media who appear to always look amazing and have everything in their lives sorted out. But this isn’t true – nobody is perfect and what you’re seeing is a carefully curated photo or caption and not the complete reality of that person’s life. So if need be, unfollow accounts that make you feel bad about yourself or that make you want to compare yourself.

Only follow people that inspire, encourage and uplift you. In real life, whenever you feel the need to compare yourself or your body to someone else, remember that you were created to be unique and that there is beauty in diversity. Also, remind yourself of all the amazing things that you can do, like a handstand or a dance or that your body keeps you alive and healthy!

Another tip that I have for embracing your body is that you need to remember that it is a journey. You can’t just decide to be body positive one day and then you’re completely happy with your body for the rest of your life. There will be days when you feel terrible about yourself and others when you’ll feel amazing about your body. It is about making daily (sometimes hourly) choices to accept your body as it is in that moment. It is about remembering all the good things your body helps you to do. It is about reminding yourself that your jiggly arms help you to hug your loved ones or that your freckles are little memories of fun times you’ve had in the sun. It is about embracing your flaws and loving yourself even more because of them.”  – @getwellclub 

Kirsten Kadé, Taste and See

“One of my favourite quotes on this topic is by the lovely Kite sisters, or Beauty Redefined (https://beautyredefined.org): “Having positive body image isn’t believing your body looks good; it is knowing that your body is good regardless of how it looks. It isn’t about thinking you are beautiful, it is knowing you are more than beautiful. It is understanding that your body is an instrument for your use, not an ornament to be admired”

This quote really sums up what learning to like your body, no matter it’s shape or size, is about. When we start to see our worth in more than our clothing size or weight on the scale, we are able to live our lives to the fullest!

 As a nutritionist-to-be, one of my interests is to help others heal their relationship with food. The framework of Intuitive Eating is incredibly useful in healing your relationship with food – so one of my biggest tips is to buy the book, start reading blogposts, following people, and listening to podcasts on this topic. And explore developing a healthy, non-restrictive approach to food.”  – @tasteandseeblog

There is so much learning to be done, and such a long way to go, but I really hope you have found some value in this. If you are truly happy within yourself, very little will get you down. Keep spreading love.

I’ve created this little print-out that you can stick on your wall, just as a tangible reminder.

Nabeela x

{A special thank you to Cari and Kirsten for sharing your wisdom with us}

Seventeen Musings

As we get older, we often overlook our personal growth. Whilst it’s easy to see it in others, it is only upon close introspection that one can notice it in oneself. We often grow up to be very different from how we visualized our future selves when we were younger.

That’s not a good thing or a bad thing. Its just how life is. Maybe you thought you were going to be a doctor, and now, once you’ve been through the education system, you’ve realized that just isn’t for you. Maybe you just wanted to be a princess. (Hey, we can’t all be Meghan Markle, but a girl can dream).

Either way, another trip around the sun means another year of memories, dreams, goals, achievements, failures (in whatever light you choose to view that word), and ultimately, growth. Here are 17 things I’ve learned up until now.

  1. As cliche as it sounds, being comfortable in your own skin and accepting yourself, no matter what stage of life you’re going through, is one of the (if not the) biggest contributing factors to your happiness.
  2. Trust your gut. That thing knows what’s up.
  3. You don’t have to be best friends with every single person you’ll ever meet. And that’s okay. 
  4. Things are not always going to go the way you planned. That is also okay. And a totally normal part of life.
  5. With time, you’ll learn who your true friends are. It’ll be hard, but also worth it.
  6. Don’t underestimate your own strength and the ability of time to heal.
  7.  Sometimes, when you think you’re really going to miss someone, you realize that life goes on and if they’re meant to be in your life, they will be.
  8. If it’s meant for you, it’ll come for you. (Really been living by this this year. It can be hard. But its the truth!)
  9. Just because someone is older than you doesn’t mean they’re right.
  10. It’s okay to have close friends with different opinions. Every debate and discussion doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t really) end with the other person having completely changed their opinion.
  11. If you’re unhappy about something, speak up. Sometimes (but not all the time) that’s all that’s needed to make some change.
  12. Not everyone is going to like you. That’s okay. You weren’t made to be loved by everyone.
  13. Social media is not, I repeat NOT, real life.
  14. The more comfortable you become with yourself, the less power other people’s opinions will have over you.
  15. Happiness doesn’t just come naturally to everyone. And its virtually impossible to explain to someone who’s never experienced it. Be kind. Be patient. Be supportive.
  16. Sometimes, being kind is more important than being right, contrary to what your ego might tell you.
  17. It’s okay to say no to things that just aren’t your thing. It doesn’t make you less cool/teenager-ish/attractive/whatever other rubbish people like to tell us. Just do you. Be yourself. It’s the best thing you can be.

I want to leave you with these wise words that really resonate with me and the kind of life I’m working to build.

“i have what i have and i am happy. i’ve lost what i’ve lost and i am still happy.” – outlook / Rupi Kaur 

Nabeela x

A Fashion Revolution

This week marks 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh. Over 1000 people were killed, making it one of the biggest garment factory disasters in history. Most of the victims were young girls – a fact that breaks my heart, still. Truth is, no one should die for fashion.

Much has been done since the accident. But if we want brands to become more transparent, we need to press for progress and keep actively asking brands the difficult questions. As consumers, we deserve to know where our clothes come from and who makes them.

This week, I’ll be posting on Instagram to do my part, and ask brands I frequent #whomademyclothes?

Join me?

Nabeela x

Mountain Musings

There’s nothing that changes one’s perspective quite like spending a few days in the mountains sans cellphone signal and civilization. It’s a breathe of fresh air – literally. Drinking river water and falling asleep to the under the watchful eyes of shooting stars can be more beneficial than one might think going into it.

I learned a few things on my trip to the mountains. The first thing being, after a day of hiking, anything tastes good. And white flip flops and dust? Not a good idea.

But more than that, I learnt that once we lose connection with our phones (which seem to be an appendage nowadays), we gain connection with people. With nature. With ourselves. Without the constant distraction of push notifications and Instagram feeds, I found myself lost in long, deep, meaningful conversation with people, something that’s hard to come by in the busy city.

I learned that simply just spending time in nature is meditation in itself. It’s so healing and relaxing to live in harmony with the natural world for once, and not try to fight against it.

Lastly, I learned to appreciate the comforts of home. I certainly take basic things like toilets and my bed for granted far too often.

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It’s true what they say. Sometimes, the best way to find yourself is to get lost. Preferably in nature.

Nabeela x

Viva La Femme

From a young age, we’ve always been taught that girls and boys are different. And that makes perfect sense, of course. Physically, males and females are different. But how far does it go? To the point where in some countries, our teenage sons are sent to school to grow their minds and get an education and our daughters are married off as children and made to do housework?

Unfortunately, sexism is not a thing of the past. We live in a society where gender roles are prevalent, and there are expectations attached to being male or female. But how do we still live in a world where a girl, who gets good marks and works hard at school, learns, that no matter how hard she works, she still won’t earn as much as her male counterparts?

We need feminism because females earn less than men for doing the same job. We need feminism because only 32 CEOs on the 2017 list of Fortune 500 companies are female. We need feminism because the world’s top athletes who are female, are referred to as “top female athletes” and not just “top athletes”. We need feminism because a woman with a brilliant mind will still be judged by the length of her skirt.

The world isn’t going to change overnight. But, by making people aware of the issues that exist, we can build a world where a woman president or CEO isn’t a rare phenomenon and girls and boys all the around the world have rights that protect them and allow them an education. I’m not sure what the biggest issue that sexism brings is. There are too many to pinpoint just one. What I do know is that I don’t want to have to raise a daughter in a world that’s constantly telling her she’s not good enough, just because she was born a girl…

Happy Women’s Day to all the incredible, powerful and amazing women of the world. Together, we are shaping the future and things are looking up for a more gender-equal tomorrow. Together, we are stronger. Viva la femme.

Nabeela x

 

P.S. Amazing movements 

International Women’s Day

He For She

On Building A Kinder Closet

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Over the past year or two, as I’ve continued to do reading and learning about living more mindfully, simply and sustainably, one of the topics I came across was the important and ongoing conversation around fast fashion and the out-of-control mass consumerism that is closely associated with the fashion industry. It left me feeling helpless, confused, and guilty amongst other things. With a bout of extreme guilt about what I was wearing and buying,  it felt like a problem that was too big and out of my hands.

However, after doing more research, I slowly developed small actions I can take to eventually achieve my goal of only buying clothes from ethical sources (and preferably, local ones too). I’ve been slowly implementing them as I add new things to my wardrobe. Its a slow journey, and you need to practice a little patience. Do the research, save some money, purge your closet and you’ll be on the right track.

Some things to think about…

  • Your money is your vote. By choosing to buy ethical, sustainable clothing (or anything) you are supporting the ethical product scene.
  • Knowledge is power. The more research you do, the more strongly you will feel about the cause, and the more informed your decisions will be.

Here are the small steps I’ve been taking…

Be aware. Knowing that there’s an issue is a good place to start. It’ll make the process worthwhile and important to you.

Start small. Its unrealistic for many of us to switch to an all-ethical, all-local wardrobe in the space of a season. In reality, many top fast fashion brands don’t have  ethical business practices. However, there are some that just top it all when it comes to unethical business practice. After doing some reading and watching the news, I made a list of repeat-offenders that I no longer shop at. Baby steps.

Buy less. Choose well. These words by Vivienne Westwood are my motto when it comes to curating a wardrobe. The best thing you can do is choose quality over quantity. Choose the pieces that have been made to last.

I’ve started seeing that fast fashion chains and ethical brands’ pricing can be pretty on par nowadays. If you can get it locally and ethically for roughly the same price, then do it.

Have a list. Going into a sale where everything is 70% off, it can be pretty easy to walk out with bags full of clothing that’ll ultimately end up shoved in the back of your closet. I do an audit of my wardrobe every season and make a concise list of what I need. I have also started using Pinterest and making reference boards of items I need in styles I love. That way, when you go into the sale, you know exactly what you’re looking for.

Don’t just toss it. Getting into a mindset of valuing our clothes and looking after them so that they last is key. Just because you wore it in all your Instagrams last season doesn’t mean it needs to get the boot.

Another tip I’d give is to stick to natural fibres as much as possible. They’re better for the environment, they wash well and your skin will thank you. I generally find that my clothing pieces made from natural fibres last longer too.

Here are some of my favourite South African clothing and accessory labels that produce quality, locally made pieces.

Selfi

Jane Sews

Famke

Bamboo Revolution

Like I said before, knowledge is power. Some of my favourite places to learn more about ethical fashion:

Fashion Revolution

Tolly Dolly Posh

Nabeela x

 

Self-Care / Conscious Living

investSelf-care is an integral part of living a more intentional life. Its not all about eating chocolate cake or spending a small fortune at the spa (although those things can be a lovely treat too). Its about carving out time once a day, or once a week to care for yourself – its important to keep your well-being on track. Its easy to slip into a daily routine of chaos with little room for unwinding. Going to bed late, waking up early, eating food that doesn’t nourish us and not resting and exercising enough can leave us feeling exhausted, sort of like a bicycle tyre with a slow puncture. At some point, we need to wake up, and realize that if we don’t take some time to patch it up, we’ll be left feeling completely deflated.

Having some time each day or even just once a week to practice self-care isn’t all that hard. It doesn’t have to be long, complicated or expensive. Just something that gives you a little lift. Its an intentional action of caring for yourself. Here are a few of my favourite ways to practice self-care.

  • Listen to your body. Some days, you’ll be full of energy. Other days, not so much. I find that on days when I feel completely fatigued, doing a high intensity workout leaves me feeling dizzy and ill rather than refreshed and happy. On those days, rather do some stretching and low intensity exercising. And remember, rest days are just as important.
  • Sleep in. No amount of exercise and healthy eating can replace the healing, restorative properties of a good night’s sleep, so make sure you’re getting enough of it, and have a sleep-in day when you get the chance. Try switching your phone off before bed too. You’ll be surprised by how much more refreshed you feel in the morning.
  • Try a face mask. Or a foot soak. Anything you enjoy that gives you some zen time to just breathe and let your sole task (no pun intended) be relaxing.
  • Quiet time. Relating back to the previous point, introvert or not, anyone can benefit from a little quiet time spent alone reading, meditating, painting or even sipping some tea, with a lovely candle lit. Heard of hygge? Its a vibe.
  • Digital Detox. Its good for your eyes, and your soul. Try it and see how free you’ll feel.

I hope you take some time this year to prioritize your well-being and practice some self-care. And as a little visual reminder, I’ve created art print that you can download and print out for your wall, or set as your phone lockscreen.

Nabeela x

 

PS: Curious about minimalism, self-care and slow, intentional living? Here are some pieces I’ve written on these topics:

Lately 04 / Minimalism

Simple

Slow: What’s The Rush? 

Monotasking 

Zen / Morning Rituals

Offline

5 Ways to Live a Little Lighter This Year

Slow Living / Bedtime Rituals

Summer Break / Rest + Heal

 

Hello 2018

2018 blog

Two-thousand and seventeen.  It came and went in a flash. It was indeed a year of exploration; exploring my interests, strengths, and, of course, the world. I learnt many life lessons, one of them being that sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself is just let go. I also know that it was a year of great hardship for some, and great success for others. So whether you fell into the former or the latter, remember that a new year is a wonderful chance to start afresh. A few things I learnt in 2017:

  • You have to do it for yourself. Intrinsic motivation is the most important kind to do anything that feels meaningful and fulfilling.
  • Take a chance. Do something that scares you. You might just find it’s the best thing you could ever have done (I did).
  • Don’t harbour ill feeling. Its poison. Make peace. As hard as it can be, it’s the purest way to stay happy.
  • Be happy and present. If ever you’re feeling in a slump, count your blessings. It’ll light your way.
  • Make your well-being a priority, always.

Wishing you a light-filled year of success, love and laughter.

Nabeela x

Summer Break / Rest + Heal

If If the thought of lying on the beach and frolicking in the ocean is enough to get you through a long, tiring double-period math lesson, you’re not alone. For many, the summer holidays are something that we look forward to the whole year. But just as quickly as they come, they go. Before you know it, you’re back in math and tackling yet another year of school or back at the office, working through a pile of stuff. It always feels as if they went in a flash.  And due to the busy nature of the summer holidays (think loads of coffee dates, dinner parties, getaways) its easy to feel even more drained than when they started. I’ve often heard people jokingly (is it a joke though?) say that they need a holiday to recover from the holidays.

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Clifton 3rd in all its glory

I’ll be going into grade 11 in 2018, the year many say is the most difficult of all the schooling years in the South African schooling system. I want to make sure that I go back well-rested and maybe sans the eye-bags that seem to constantly live on my face in term time. Here’s what I’ve been doing and am planning to do to get the most out of my holiday. Care to join me?

01. / Turn off and tune out

Even although we’re off from school (or work), with emails and even constant news and information from social media, our brains may feel as if they’re not on holiday at all. Take some time and make a conscious effort to turn off your phone and laptop, and just unplug for a while. It’ll do you a world of good, and you’ll be surprised how light you’ll feel (speaking from experience here. Mountain cabin with no reception = instant zen).

02. / Plan for nothing

Having a calendar to plan out how you’ll be spending your time off can put your mind at ease. However, its important to make some time to do nothing in particular – to check out that new breakfast spot you’ve been meaning to visit, or to get into that book that’s been on your nightstand for months.

03. / Ease up

Relating to what I’ve said previously, summer holidays can turn into the time we try and do everything, meet up with everyone, go everywhere. I have found that trying to make plans to see all my friends and be everywhere has been more stressful than anything else. Its a good time to reflect, and figure out who and what adds value to your life. You’ll feel more fulfilled and hopefully a lot less frazzled.

04. / Save it

Now, this may seem slightly unrelated, but if you’re anything like me, December is the time where all your hard-earned money seems to slip through your fingers, being lost to impulse purchases on sale items you don’t really need, and more. Be conscious. That’s all. Treat yourself, but not to the extent that your bank balance dwindles. No one wants to go into a new year broke (again).

05. / Stick with it

I’m certainly no stranger to the fact that holidays are a time that workouts go out the window and clean eating is nowhere to be seen. Balance is key. Enjoy the treats, but don’t let go of all your healthy habits. Your body will thank you for it, and you’ll feel better too.

Here’s to a more healing, restful and fulfilling summer break. Sending love and light your way. Enjoy it all – you deserve it.

Nabeela x

Have a Happier Exam Session

Exams are undoubtedly the most stressful time of the year in any student’s life. The pressure is on and the nerves are set. Believe it or not, exams have been pretty bearable for me this time around (1 week in and all is well). They don’t have the be awful.

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01. /  Organize

Although it may seem obvious, having a structured study plan helps to ease the nerves immensely because you know you’re on track and its easy to see what you need to do each day. Writing a to-do list every day when I get home has been helping me so much to clearly see what I need to achieve before the end of the day.

02. / Move 

I haven’t stopped any of my usual exercises and it’s been such a great way to relieve stress and relax. If you’re usually very active and you stop completely, chances are that you’re not going to feel very good, or at ease. So be sure to make time to move those muscles.

03. / Eat well

Eating healthily and drinking lots of water helps you to have a clearer mind and a happier body. Try some healthy snack options instead of chips and sweets (which’ll make you feel sluggish and unenergetic). Here are some snacks to try:

  • Carrot sticks and hummus
  • Cucumber cubes and feta
  • Banana and peanut butter smoothie
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit

04. / Sleep 

I know all too well how easy it is to come home early and think there’s so much time to do the things that need to be done, and put it off until later, but the afternoon turns into night real quick. Rather space your work out over the day rather than staying up too late and missing out on sleep.

05. / Unwind

Make sure that you still take time to relax, do things you enjoy and follow your self-care rituals. Its so important in order to stay happy and healthy during this time.

All the best to everyone writing!

Nabeela x

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