One of the questions I’ve been asked a lot is about what are the best re-usable dispensers for bulk shampoo, conditioner and hand wash. I know that re-using is the best approach, but for some of you who want to embark on this change it may not be practical. So, I’ve compiled a few suggested items and a bit of an explainer with each.Continue reading
By Suzanne Leyden, owner of The WellNow Co.
I consciously started looking at my health habits 8 years ago when I was run down, suffering from poor sleep, IBS and had skin allergies. This was down to stress, poor nutrition and environmental factors. It was when I chose a career change from TV commercials producer to nutrition, health and wellness coach. I started primarily with nutrition – it’s an accessible way to improve your health, and although it requires knowledge and discipline it’s something many people do regularly.
I then started to look at all the environmental factors that impact my health – this was as much about the planet as my allergies and bouts of unexplained eczema. I’m talking about moisturisers, shampoos, make-up as well as household cleaning products. It’s a minefield. But with the change in products the improvements have been incredibly notable. For starters I couldn’t tell you the last time I had problems with my skin, we’re talking years.
Although I made a lot of these changes years ago, I’m always looking to improve how I run my house. To be mindful of the environment on the whole but also to reduce the toxins going into my actual household too. This applies to the personal care products as much as the household cleaning products. As part of the coaching offered with The WellNow Co we consider environmental factors such as these and look at ways to change to ‘cleaner’ products that may have less of an impact on your health.
Prior to the pandemic, I had always wanted to get these products in bulk sizes. The cost savings is a very attractive reason. The reduction in plastic too. And the convenience of being able to refill shampoo in your house is a total luxury. But I felt like I needed to research it all, re-configure my utility room and invest upfront in the purchase of them. So last June (2020) I finally made the leap and did just that. I have not looked back.
The biggest things I have noticed since buying in bulk are:
- A massive saving – being able to buy quality products at a fraction of the price of them in their regular sizes is fantastic.
- It’s so convenient – refilling at home is so handy and saves me time.
- Shopping is more focused – the weekly shop is now focused almost solely on food, so our meal plan is much more effective. The shop is also quicker, saving considerable time, and it’s much less bulky.
- Sustainable – there is a massive reduction in plastic. One 5 litre bulk container is the equivalent to 25 bottles of 200ml, with their lids or pumps etc.
- Reducing toxic load – by making these bulk products eco-friendly we are keeping chemicals off our skin, out of our homes and out of the greater environment.
It can require space which is a very valuable commodity in any house, but if you can figure out a place to store even a few bulk products you’ll be doing you, your family and the environment a massive favour.
I’ve achieved a lot of positive change in living more sustainably, and I also know there is a lot more I can do. The main thing is that I’m open to learning and adapting. I try not to berate myself when there are obvious changes I need to embrace staring me in the face, I try to figure out a flow of steps to make it happen. In a family of five I need buy-in and support from everyone, but usually I need to lead the change and bring everyone on board. There is not one final destination, but if we don’t move towards making substantial changes in terms of how we operate our households we are moving towards environmental damage that we are responsible for.
Silver linings are few and far between at the moment. We all now know first hand how hard living through a pandemic is. And while the pressures are very individual, nobody has escaped some form of hardship. However, the silver linings may be the best prize we get out of the situation.
What is undeniably true, is that the pandemic has given us the opportunity and the time to focus on ourselves and our family, enjoy the outdoors and nature more and to put in place the necessary routines to ensure that we come out of this in a healthier and happier place. So, let’s grab that silver lining and run with it.
1. Review Your Eating Habits
While many of us are at home trying to work and homeschool, feeling like we are not nailing either, it can be a great time to look inward at our family’s eating habits. Increasing awareness around what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat it can be really helpful to improving our families’ health through nutrition. Keep a food diary over a few days with as much detail as possible and be as honest as you can. Then review it and see where you can cut back or change anything. Some things to look for:
- Are you eating enough fruit and veg? Don’t worry, most people don’t. So consider where you can squeeze in a few more portions each day.
- Nearly everyone puts the blinkers on around their snack consumption. Be really honest about what you’ve eaten each day – yes, that third biscuit counts! You may need to look at decreasing sugary treats.
- From a health, environmental and cost perspective many of us need to consider reducing the amount of meat we eat (if you’re not vegan or vegetarian). Think about eating more plant based foods or vegetarian options.
- Fibre is such an important aspect of our gut health and the western diet is naturally low in it. Increase fibre by replacing white with brown – bread/rice/pasta
- Hydrate – It’s difficult to remember to keep our water intake at the optimum level regardless of time of year. Use a water bottle and fill it at the start of the day, and refill it throughout the day until you have reached your goal of approximately 2 litres.
2. Time to delve into your nutrition-related pain points – Fussy eaters, food waste & overspending on food?
You are not alone if you find yourself whipping up two or three dinners for just one sitting in order to accommodate the different (fussy!) palates. Very often our children reject foods and we take the path of least resistance as we pick our battles carefully! Not only is this not sustainable for the busy working parent who is already stretched to their limits, but it’s not helping our child develop tastes and interests in other foods. It is also a huge source of food waste, and with food waste, there is money waste also.
Now is the time to help your kids really understand why we should eat a certain way and what the benefits to them are. By realizing they can enhance their learning ability, and their running speed from choosing the best foods for them is a good start. Empowering them is rewarded with buy-in from them. Broadening their food horizons is good for their health, your time, your wallet and the environment. Two effective activities to task them with are:
- Let them create their own meal plan for their lunches during the week. It helps taking the daily thinking out of it for parents and they can keep doing when they go back to school.
- Do an ‘Eat The Rainbow Challenge’ for the kids or the whole family. See how many portions of the different colours everyone eats across a week. This can highlight where increases or changes can be made to your eating habits, but done in a fun and engaging way.
3. Take the time for a Household Audit
Scrambling from week to week is no way to live. Most of us would like a calmer life to allow us to enjoy ourselves more and feel optimally productive. A really effective approach to improving how you run your home is to do a ‘Household Audit’. Three effective ways to make your household more efficient are:
- Look at your household budget to help you to optimally understand and refine your spending.
- Meal Planning and shopping list templates will help you reduce costs, waste and trips to the shops.
- A review of your household cleaning and personal care products will allow for clarity. Should you buy certain products in bulk, reducing waste and costs. Could you look at buying a more environmentally clean product which is better for you personally but also the planet.
4. Think it, plan it, do it!
Each and every choice we make for ourselves has an impact on our health and how we feel. Some habits we have we know we want to change. Becoming aware of what we would like our life to ultimately look like and deciding what it will take to get there will help inform what new habits we want to form, and what old ones we want to lose.
Whether stress is a big factor in your life, or whether you want to increase your exercise and movement, or if poor sleep is impacting your life or your work/life balance is out of whack, establishing clear goals is critical to succeeding with positive behaviour change. A couple of ways to help figure out what your goal is, and the action steps to make it happen are:
- Ask yourself how you want the situation to look when you have succeeded in achieving your goal. Use this visualization to look realistically at what changes need to be made in order to get there.
- Write out the list of things that need to change to achieve your goal. This can be a long or short list depending on your circumstances and what the goal is. Then rate how ready you are to make each of the items on the list from 1-10. Choose the three top-rated steps that you are most ready to change first, and work your way down the list.
5. Find your pot of gold
The silver linings may end up being your pot of gold when the pandemic finally ends. Taking a simple approach with small steps of change we can look at our lives in terms of nutrition, lifestyle and how we want to change them. Tap into your positive thoughts to make it happen.
If you would like to make a change for either yourself or your family, The WellNow Co has a range of one-to-one virtual health coaching packages sessions. Alternatively, they have a range of Online Wellness Programmes available from meal planning to stress management. In addition, they also have Workplace Wellness packages available for corporate clients.