Hello Ven, lovely to speak with you again! To begin with, which three worlds describe you best?
Honest, caring and positive.
We love that! Let's talk about your sustainability activism. In the context of our environment, the Oxford dictionary defines sustainability as “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance”. The second definition however, outlines it as “the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level”. Arguably, looking at your activism as well as your self-care practices, you advocate for both sustainability for the sake of the planet but also the individual – their mental health and well-being.
Absolutely I do. As someone who has struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember, I have found huge solace in the notion of mindful consumption to protect our planet, but also, look after ourselves and find purpose and community. For me, this means I eat a vegan diet, I don’t buy fast fashion, I’m conscious of how I travel and I’m hyper aware of the amount of time I spend online. As someone who uses social media for work, it’s been pretty life-changing for me to start #Offline48 with my partner, Max. We switch our phones off on Friday nights and leave them off until Monday. During the week, our phones are off a few hours before bedtime and they’re not turned on until we’ve been awake for at least an hour. And they are NEVER in the bedroom.
As we’ve seen in the video we collaborated on (thanks for having us btw!), you work from home. Many freelance-aspirers out there perceive the freelance life as a promise of having plenty of free time and feeling less pressure. While this may be true at times, sticking to a good routine seems to be the key to success – both in terms of achievement as well as one’s well-being. Could you tell us a little bit more about your daily routine’s non-negotiables?
I start each day with warm water, I learnt this from my meditation teacher Jillian Lavender. Speaking of meditation! That’s a non-negotiable daily practice. 20 minutes when I wake up and then another 20 minutes in the evenings if I can squeeze it in. I also love exercising and make sure I move every day. I like a good gym class and yoga, but walking as much as I can is something I strive for.
In your experience, what major benefits have you experienced from staying ‘switched off’ in the evenings and mornings as well as at weekends?
Mental clarity, less anxiety, improved relationships, mindful eating, better sleep, improved self-esteem, rational thinking, an overall sense of peace….. the list is endless...
What other stress-reducing practices do you engage with regularly to keep pressure and worries at bay?
I have used a Lumie alarm clock for quite a few years now which means I have no need for my phone to get me out of bed in the morning! I wake with the sunrise feature of the clock and go to bed with the sunset feature and the sound of thunderstorms - delicious!
With the winter just round the corner (contrary to what we need most!), we often hibernate and don’t spend enough time outside which can have a knock-on effect on our well-being. Do you find your energy shifts this time of the year? What our your top three mood-boosting tips for autumn and winter?
My energy absolutely shifts at this time of year - and then increasingly as we delve further into winter. I try to ensure that I’m outside as much I can be during daylight hours and I take a vitamin D supplement. I also love using my Lumie SAD lamp when I’m working from home, it genuinely fills me (and my plants) with energy.
There are some great aspects of this season – including cosy evenings spent enjoying heart-warming food! It must be a blessing having a renowned zero-waste chef as a partner-in-crime?
I absolutely love the produce at this time of year: parsnips, squashes and brussel sprouts are some of my favourite foods - and yes, I feel incredibly lucky to have found someone whose ethics are aligned with my own, and who is also a wizard in the kitchen! In terms of what we eat, we try to eat as seasonally as possible, with lots of warm, nourishing and grounding dishes like stews, soups and curries. Max’s Sweet Potato Dahl with Coconut Mango Rice and his Seed To Skin Squash Pasta are two of my winter favourites from his book, More Plants Less Waste.
Wow, that sounds yummy! Lastly, what would you recommend to somebody wanting to start living more sustainably, but not knowing where to start?
I am in an incredibly privileged position as a white woman with time and money to think about living more consciously, so the changes I’m currently working on may not be the right ones for you. But just do your best. Maybe that’s more plants on your plate and less money spent on fast fashion. Perhaps it means you plan a staycation instead of catching a flight. Maybe it’s taking the #offline48 digital detox challenge with some friends to connect back to what life’s all about. But know that there is no ‘end goal’. It’s about making small changes every single day. Forgive yourself if you slip up and strive to do better tomorrow.