As it’s Earth Day today I thought it would be poignant to share ten easy ways that you can become more environmentally and reduce your impact on our planet, which is currently heaving and sputtering to a deathly halt trying to match our wants and requirements.

I shared an Instagram post with 10 facts about our impact on the environment, if you’d like to read those then head here.

If you’re reading this then I am hoping you understand the devastating impact we as human beings are currently having on our planet and how it really is in our hands, right now, in this very moment, to start to make changes. I know people say ‘start small’ but there is really no time waste, so if you can try to implement these from RIGHT NOW, then our planet will totally thank you for it, as will your future self and future generations to come.

  1. Ditch Single Use Plastics

A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021. But it’s not just bottles that we are using too much of, things like straws, plastic bags and packaging are being consumed on a monumental level every single day and hardly any of it is being recycled, most is going straight to landfill or into our oceans.

Ditch single use plastics by buying a reusable water bottle, a metal straw and some material tote bags for your shopping. You will also save money! I actually have a blog post that covers this so feel free to take a read of that too if you like.

  1. Buy your food locally and eat in Season

So you love an avocado smashed onto your sourdough every Sunday morning right? But do you have any idea of the carbon and water footprint of the food you buy? Our supermarkets are full to the brim with apples from Antigua, tomatoes from Tenerife and strawberries from Spain. The carbon footprint and the load on the planet of importing all these exotic foods from all over the planet are killing our Earth.

Instead of choosing things that have been flown from another country, why not look for produce that’s been grown in the UK, or better yet, head to a Farmer’s Market at the weekend, find a good green grocers near you and try buying meat from butchers instead. Do some research. If you’re super busy you can buy meal/veg boxes from companies online with are ethical and sustainable, check our Riverford here.

Also eating fruit and veg that are in season will be much better in reducing your carbon footprint and impact on the environment.

  1. Compost

I unfortunately can’t compost in my current flat, but if you have the potential of having a compost bin in your garden or have an organic waste bin then PLEASE USE ONE! Composting is essentially recycling organic waste, as opposed to it heading to landfill where it will be trapped and can’t reach oxygen which it needs in order to decay.

  1. Recycle Properly

Did you know that 60% of our rubbish that ends up going to landfill could have been recycled? Make sure you check out your local council’s website where they should give you information on what recycling they take and how it works. Make sure you take the time before you throw something away to see if it can be recycled. If I am out and I have rubbish on me that can be recycled and I can’t find a bin, I usually will take it home with me to recycle there. If you put something in your recycling bin that cannot be recycled, often this will contaminate what CAN be recycled and therefore it means that the contaminated produce (even if originally it could be recycled) will be sent to landfill.

  1. Simply Buy Less

We have got into a habit of thinking we need more more more. When really we need so much less! We don’t need so many of the clothing and products we have in our homes. If we bought less, this would help the planet so much more. I am slowly trying to become more minimalist in my life, which is proving quite hard for me as it seems I hold onto things quite strongly! But these guys are really informative and are doing some interesting things so take a read if minimalism is something you’re interested in!

  1. Turn the lights off

I won’t go into why power plants are bad for the environment, that’s year 9 stuff from school, but simply turning the lights off when you leave the room or turning things fully off (not just leaving them on standby) can only help our planet for the better.

  1. Buy Eco Friendly and Sustainable Products

Again there is so much detail to go into here, but take a look at the products you are buying, and the brands you are buying them from. Your skin care products, your deodorant, your kitchen supplies… and above all your clothing. I think I need to go into another blog post just focusing on fast fashion and its horrendous impacts on our planet, but essentially, try to avoid buying clothing made from artificial materials, opt instead for organic cotton or bamboo, by pieces you will wear for years, ignore fashion trends and stick to your own style that works for you. Do some research before you buy something from a company, to make sure that their ethical morals align with your own. Here is an article that goes into fast fashion and why it is so awful in more detail.

  1. Eat Less Meat/Animal Products

I am not going to ask you to go full vegan, but the environmental impact of the animal farming industry is monumental, even if you went vegan or vegetarian just one day or week, or maybe went veggie during the week, the reduction of green house gas emissions and water pollution would be epic.

  1. Take Shorter Showers

Water is becoming more and more scarce, right now us living here in the UK may not be aware of this but by 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity. This is awful, and really not very far away in terms of time, it’s not going to be very long until we really see how we are impacting our environment.

  1. Do a Beach Clean Up

If you live near the beach, or even the next time you’re near one on holiday, why not do a beach clean up? Or even search online to see if there is already one scheduled so that you can go along and join? It feels so productive to actually be a part of clearing up our environment and helps to save our oceans.

I hope you enjoyed reading this and have come away with some food for thought, do you have any other ideas? I would love to know so please leave a comment below!

In the summer of 2016 I was diagnosed with mild clinical depression – after about 6 months of being continuously unhappy, crying a lot, feeling hopeless and getting to the point where I just didn’t really know why life was worth living anymore. I am really pleased to say that since that time it has got considerably better, I was put back on the contraceptive pill to help stabilise my mood, I made some lifestyle changes and I didn’t really feel affected for about a year or so after that. In November last year (2017) I was taken off the pill due to optical migraines and I definitely noticed some changes in my mood and outlook.

Over the past 6 months my mood has fluctuated greatly and I am often suddenly struck with a feeling of being completely overwhelmed, unhappy, emotional and hopeless. My depression isn’t severe enough that it prevents me from getting out of bed in the mornings, and for that I am overly grateful, but it can affect me quite strongly in that I often feel like I have no emotions whatsoever, can cry at the tiniest thing, or in fact nothing at all, and I have noticed it can greatly affect how I teach a yoga class. It manifests itself in the form of making mundane tasks, like looking at emails really daunting. There is no rhyme or reason to this, my inbox is never very full and the emails I usually do receive are from people I know and are to do with projects I have initiated and am in control of. Even responding to simple Whatsapp messages feels like too much and I can sometimes end up with about 20 unread messages on my phone after a day or so of not reading them. My tidiness is also extremely affected, I am not a very tidy person, organised yes, tidy no. But before I was struck with depression my flat and bedroomed remained fairly tidy. Over the past year this is something I have noticed has got out of hand and I also have noticed some tendencies to find it hard to throw things away, my life is very cluttered and this in turn creates stress, it’s a pretty vicious cycle to be honest. I have so many amazing plans for the next 12 months, but sometimes I can’t even sit down at my computer or tidy my room, and it does have a huge impact on me in many ways I think I have avoided addressing.

I guess for a long time I felt that because I was still functioning, and because I still have good days where I feel good and where I am happy, that perhaps I had no right to talk about my depression. Because I know I have friends who have days where they literally cannot get out of bed, or where they can’t go to social events with the people they love because their anxiety is telling them they don’t want them there. I almost felt like my illness didn’t count because I still am able to get up every day and go to work. But I think the percentage of people who deal with depression on the level that I do is probably use, and when it is mild it is almost harder to realise that depression is what you have, heck sometimes it takes me a whole 24 hours of feeling like shit and feeling like life is crap before I click and realise that actually this is my depression talking. So I thought by sharing my story with you, perhaps it might help even just one of you, or make you feel more like you are able to understand what is happening in your own head, or maybe even understand what is happening for a loved one in your life.

Tips on functioning through a dark day

In addition, I wanted to share with you how I do pull through on the darker days, the little things that I do that seem to help, these are in no specific order:

 

Move Your Body

It can be a run, a yoga flow, heading to the gym, absolutely anything that works for you. Moving your body, getting the blood flowing and hopefully releasing some endorphins into your system is a sure fire way to make yourself feel a little better. Exercise is something that doctors always mention when they talk to a new patient about clinical depression. Even if it takes you an hour or arguing with yourself to get yourself up and out, just try, if you don’t feel better you can stop, but it’s always worth a shot.

 

Talk To Someone

The classic depressive internal rhetoric of ‘I can’t talk about this to anybody because they won’t understand/they won’t believe me/they don’t care’ (circle as needed) is hard to shake, and I do feel lucky that generally speaking I am not worried about talking about the emotional nitty gritty, having said that, it can be hard to talk about it sometimes. But have that person in your mind who you know won’t judge you, who you know understands you and who will undoubtedly be able to give you some advice. I find it hard to talk to people who have never had depression, because actually, it’s a very hard thing to describe and if the person themselves hasn’t experienced something similar, their advice may not be helpful, so if you can find someone who either currently suffers or has done in the past, not specifically with depression but perhaps with another mental illness it can be super helpful.

 

Follow Motivating People on Social Media

Sure social media has its cons, but you cannot underestimate the power of motivational quotes or instastories of people you follow who may be going through the same thing. I think that’s why I share what I share, because if one person sees my story and it makes them feel better, then I consider my job done. So in turn, someone I follow might have something valuable for me to listen to. Today for example, I watched two instastories from two separate people and one was about finding motivation when you’re not motivated, and the other was someone who woke up like me feeling relatively shit, and her ‘don’t let this ruin your Monday’ schpeel actually helped me.

 

Remind Yourself That This Is Temporary

The beauty of mild depression is that it is mild. It is not so overwhelming that you don’t have good days. I have a lot of good days, and remembering that tomorrow I will probably wake up with a totally different attitude definitely helps. Just like physical illnesses or injuries, our emotions and hormones are just PHYSICAL things, although they may not feel it, because they manifest in our minds, remembering this, remembering that what you are feeling is not YOU, it doesn’t define you, and brighter days are just around the corner helps me a lot to just settle into how I am feeling and just run with it as best I can.

 

Do Something Satisfying

What satisfies you on a materialistic level? Maybe going through your wardrobe and clearing out some clothes you don’t wear will make you feel better, I went through a random drawer that hadn’t been touched in months this morning and honestly it felt so good to just cleanse my surroundings a little that it made me feel marginally better. Maybe a good clean of your bathroom or a hoovering session will not only make you feel like you’ve done something productive, but will make your surroundings a little nicer too, win win.

 

Write Down How You Feel

If you don’t journal, then start. Getting words down onto paper (or onto the notes app of your phone) is very healing, and it can also help you to unjumble all of those crazy thoughts that are flying around your head 24/7. And if you don’t know how to journal, that’s cool, because neither do I really, all I do is pick up my pen and start to write, it doesn’t really matter what form it is, maybe you ask yourself a question, for example if you’ve been feeling anxious about a situation, get a notebook and a pen and write at the top ‘Why am I feeling so anxious about X?’ and then just write out your answer. If this doesn’t gel with you, you could write it in a letter format, sometimes I write the universe a letter, or when I was going through a breakup with my ex I would often write a letter to him (that obviously I never sent).

Just getting words down will make you feel so much better, it also allows you to say things that perhaps you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying to someone, because although it’s good to be open and honest sometimes there are still things we don’t feel comfortable talking about to others, and this way you still get to say it without the fear of judgement.

 

I hope this has been helpful, if you have anything else to add then feel free to leave a comment with any tips for anyone reading this!

Where my freelancer journey began

Let’s start a little further back, New Year’s Day 2017. I’d been umming and ahing about whether to do a yoga teacher training or not. I love yoga, it changed my life so much, but I was already signed up to do my Personal Training Course which would be every Saturday until April, if I took this teacher training I had my eye on, I’d have to leave my job at the end of March to be able to do it, as my hours at my job wouldn’t have accommodated the course. I knew I could do some freelance translation work, but I didn’t have any other income. I’m not sure what clicked for me on that day but I decided I would just do it, so I applied. My mum, who is my biggest supporter and the person I go to for advice, wasn’t entirely sure it was the right decision. I had a flat to pay for in London, bills to pay, a course to pay for, and how was I sure I’d make any money? Well I definitely wasn’t sure, but what I knew in my heart was that I couldn’t work in an office anymore, working for someone else wasn’t my jam and I have realised that client relations and project management wasn’t the job for me.

So that landed me at my last day at my old job last year at the end of March, I was a little sad to go, but I had two days before the start of my yoga teacher training AND two days of PT exams to get through, so I went straight from work into revision mode, exams and then my first day of my YTT. I was lucky in that I got some good work through translation as well as blogging over April and May, and I went into my first two months as self employed making a decent amount of money. I got my first class at a studio as a fitness instructor and never really looked back.

This brings me to today, I’m sat on the Northern Line going back home, it’s 2pm, I’ve taught two classes so far today, I’ve had a PT client and am teaching a corporate yoga class this evening. My schedule is full. I feel a little tired. Am I happy? Yes, most certainly. Did I make the right decision? 100%. I know freelance isn’t for everybody, managing your own time is hard, but I love what I do and I enjoy running my own schedule, so for me it’s perfect. However there have been some ups and downs, it’s not been easy. I know I am still a newbie, but I want to share with you what I have learned over the past year.

Make a Plan

My mum made me write out a business plan for how much money I would need to make per month, and where that money would come from. It significantly helped me to focus, and I felt more stable with a plan. I am not a business person, business isn’t my forte, I am lucky that both my parents are self employed, as is my aunt, my step mum and several of my friends. If you’re not fortunate enough to have that, then find someone who is freelance and seek advice from them. You are not alone in this, there are loads of us out there! I would also try and have some money set back, even just a few grand in case things don’t quite go to plan.

Delegate

As I am not into businessy stuff, I’m also not a numbers person and I never bothered with bookkeeping or doing my own taxes. I pay for someone to do it. If you live in London, seek someone outside of London (both my bookkeeper and accountant are in Devon) as it’s significantly cheaper. I know that it would stress me out so much, take too much time, and be a waste of my energy to do it myself. Delegation is the key to every business, and you are a business, remember, you are not alone.

Allow For Transition Time

It takes time to get used to your new way of living, so be patient. I went through some ups and downs, a friend and fellow freelancer calls this the 5 stages of grieving for your old job. I felt an amalgamation of fear, happiness, joy, sadness, confusion and eventually it just mellowed into my new normal.

At First Say Yes A Lot

I know we are trying to learn how to say no, but as a new freelancer who may not have stable clients and a steady income, say yes to things. Just say yes. Do the stuff nobody else wants to do, be willing and be ready, if like me you’re a fitness instructor/PT/yoga teacher, take cover at the last minute, be willing to go the extra mile, because not many people are and trust me people notice this and it will pay off.

Network

The word ‘network’ used to freak me out. It made me think of those business parties you’d see on TV shows, people in suits making small talk and exchanging business cards. That is not networking. Networking is just being friendly, talking to people, being open, trusting in the universe that natural connections will occur, sometimes from the people you least expect. When you are a freelancer and you work for yourself, you are your brand, every person you meet could be a job for you, I actually got a job through a guy I once snogged in a night club, I’m not even joking, it happens (and it wasn’t because I snogged him, I want to make that clear!). Essentially be nice, be yourself, don’t be a dick to people, and the right things will come your way.

Be Prepared

This one is big. If you’re a PT or someone who works with their body, injury is your worst nightmare. The same goes for if you’re ill. We don’t get sick pay like everyone else. I twisted my ankle and had to take a week off work, I was lucky that I could get my classes covered and that I could take Some translation work, so I didn’t miss out, but if the fitness stuff was my only source of income, I’d have been worried. So make sure you get insured and try and have a back up plan. Be prepared for holidays to be blissful but also to be stressful, whether it’s because you have no income for a week, or because you run a business and your employees might not be able to leave you alone. It’s not the same as just putting your OOO on, sending your handover, and forgetting about work for a week.

Finally, it’s worth taking the risk

If there is one takeaway from this past year, it’s this: just fucking do it. That risk I took one year ago when I left my secure, safe job, has paid off. I have made so many huge leaps and bounds, am making about £10k more per year as a freelancer, and have never felt more like myself than I do right now. I’m finally figuring out what I want from life, what I want to achieve, what foot print I want to leave behind when I’m gone and how I want to help shape the future, it’s pretty big. This wouldn’t have been possible without taking that leap. Your leap of faith might not be leaving your job, you could love your job! I don’t think everyone has to be self employed at all, but I do think everyone has a purpose in life and sometimes you have to risk something to find what that is!

Thank you so much for reading as always guys! Are any of you considering going freelance? What are your barriers? I’d love to talk more about it!

If you follow instagrammer Hannah @gypsyon__ then last weekend you might have noticed a distinct gypsyon shaped whole in the Instagram sphere. Because at the weekend, her account mysteriously disappeared. Whether it was a hacking on Instagram, or perhaps someone reporting her as being inappropriate (because heaven forbid we STILL can’t handle the female form), the fact is her account disappeared and the app on her phone was blocked.

You might remember this happened to other accounts last year, at the same time that many of us were unceremoniously shadow banned. Instagram have remained eerily quiet around this entire topic, much like they do about these algorithms they keep introducing to fuck up our engagement. And we all know that companies who stay quiet about these types of things don’t usually have their clients’ best interests at heart, to me, it screams the word ‘shady’.

Hannah may now have her account and all is well with the world but it does bring in the question of how much control we as influencers have over this app that makes some of us a great deal of money. We are relying on getting our income from an app that we have no control over, we don’t even know what Instagram want because they are notoriously silent, and yet so many people make their money solely from this app. I’m not one of those people and I genuinely consider it a wise move on my part, maybe, had life been different and my following and engagement had gone to crazy heights instead of simmering around the 50-60k mark it would be different, but for all that’s come of it I’m glad that I don’t rely on this app for my main source of income. I don’t think I’d like to be constantly in fear or having the social media rug pulled out from under my feet, often with little feedback from the app who did the pulling, and I can’t say it’s a wise business move on anyone else’s part.

What can we do instead? Well, as bloggers, the name kind of says it all. We blog. We try to build up our subscriber list, and slowly and subtly try to transfer some of the income so it’s coming in via our blog, which is something we own (providing you own your domain name) and can control. As well as this we can also spread our reach out into other social media sources, like YouTube for example. It’s a similar premise, but YouTube has been around for a lot longer, and there IS safety in numbers (of social media platforms) providing you have the energy and the time to put your weight behind more than one medium.

The other is to create your own online business that you can drive customers through your Instagram. This is something I am looking into as I have some ideas up my sleeve that I think will be useful.

Like many bloggers it is totally possible to create a name for yourself beyond just your Instagram, look at Zanna Van Dijk for example, probably one or the most recognised London Fitness bloggers, who would no doubt still get work if something did happen to one of her accounts, because she is a name in her own right. I think the main takeaway is that you shouldn’t rely solely on your Instagram, if you are I’m being blunt here and telling you that you’re being naive. Start to build up an email list, get working on a blog, start a YouTube channel, maybe even do a podcast, something that isn’t just an Instagram income, because if, like Hannah from Gypsyon, your account does get deleted for whatever reason, you don’t want to be in a situation where you have no income and no way of getting that account back.

I am in no way saying that making money through Instagram isn’t a legitimate thing and that you shouldn’t do it, but I do think it’s naive and unwise to put all of your eggs and that ever changing, unpredictable, algoritmed basket, and it will help you in the future to invest time in at least one other platform as well as your own blog. What do you think? I’d love to know so please do leave a comment!

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day across the globe, a chance to really celebrate everything it is to be female and empowered. A few different blog post ideas crossed my mind, but the one that seemed to stick and be most relevant was to share with you the things I would say to a much younger Hannah to help her on her quest to greatness and goddessyness. Most of these aren’t gender specific and if you’re a guy reading this wanting to embrace his inner god then welcome and enjoy, but these next 5 tips are things I have learnt along the way that should enable you to become the best and most empowered you you have ever been and to ignite your inner goddess. So without further ado, let’s go!

1. Love Yourself

Seems simple and it’s very on-trend right now, but self love, self acceptance and self compassion are paramount to you becoming the goddess you truly are. If you don’t love yourself, if you don’t put your health and well-being first, then how can you expect to direct your energy into your passion projects and building the life you dream of? Self love is different for everyone but when it gets down to it, it’s fighting that voice in your head that tells you you aren’t good enough, that says you’re too this and too that, and accepting all facets of your body and your mind and soul.

2. Say No to Shit You Don’t Want To Do

Another toughie. Us girls are good at saying yes. We’re so scared to hurt/offend that we don’t even think about saying no, even if it’s something that you really don’t want to do. If you don’t want to do it, if it’s going to make you tired, if it’s going to take you away from something else you’d rather be doing, say no. You don’t have to insult the person you’re saying no to, you don’t even have to apologise for it. Bottom line is we need to say no more, and get comfortable doing it.

3. Stop Competing with Other Women

We’re raised to compete. We’re raised to be the best. We’re raised to covet that guy’s attention, because back in ye olde times women were a powerful pawn in a family, and so it made financial sense to have to vie for a guy’s attention. Luckily, we don’t need to do that shit anymore, because our society is a little less twisted. So stop comparing yourself to that other girl you know, understand that a rose and a tulip really can’t be compared because they’re different flowers, know that they’re both beautiful and magical in their own way, and support the women around you, because I swear to goddess the only way this planet is going to survive is if we support our fellow girl gang.

4. Get Rid of Toxic People In Your Life

There’s a saying that you are the collective energy of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Now think about those 5 people. Are they people whose energy you love? Do they reflect the life you want to create? Or are they draining your energy a little? Do they make you feel shit about yourself? If it’s the latter, perhaps remove them from your life. And I know how hard this is. I’ve recently stopped talking to an old friend, because we simply drained each-other. It was kind of a mutual decision and it still feels sad, but I feel much better off not having that energy in my life, and I’m sure they do too. And that’s not to say we won’t end up being friendly again in the future, but for now, for whatever reason, it just isn’t working.

This can be a hard pill to swallow because again, we’re hardwired to worry about what people think too much, and we’d never want to hurt someone we care about, but it comes back to point number one. Do you love yourself? If you do, you have to make those tough decisions sometimes.

5. Start Manifesting What You Want

Some of you may read this and think what the hell is manifesting? Well, in short, manifestation is the bringing to life of something, making it real and true, and known to the world. I am currently manifesting a really big thing in my life, and when I said I am manifesting it, I mean I am putting out into the world that this thing is going to happen, and by doing this I am 100% certain it will come to fruition. There are lots of different ways of manifesting things, and if you want to know more there are loads of articles on Google, or perhaps I can even write a blog post about manifesting things? But look up manifestation as well as the Law of Attraction and start implementing that shit.

So there you have it, my five top things I wish I’d been able to tell my younger self, and five things that I truly believe will allow you to grow higher and stronger. Do you have any tips? Have you started implementing any of these? Let me know in a comment below