Sustainable Self-Love Nourishing Yourself Today & Always
Self-love and self-care don’t have to be grounded so much in materialism. There are plenty of sustainable practices and products to consciously treat yourself with a look-good, feel-good sensation that reverberates all around.
You should make plenty of space in your life to love yourself as much and as best you can, no matter what time of year it is. Maybe Valentine’s Day is a comfy place to start. Maybe it’s the day after. Maybe it’s a week from now. Whenever your journey begins, the timeline doesn’t quite matter quite so much as the process itself. Caring for yourself is not a task that can ever be fully checked off your to-do list; it is an infinitely ever-present, boundlessly ever-growing approach to life and self. Some days are difficult, but others are truly rewarding and empowering.
Self-love also gives us the strength to love and support others, and impacting the world with positivity and warmth begins first with channeling good energy into your own heart. Treating yourself is truly a therapeutic, soul-nourishing practice and there are plenty of places and resources throughout New York City to ground yourself in a nourishing self-care regimen.
Too often, self-love may also be conflated with over-indulgence, excess and wastefulness. Self-love and self-care don’t have to mean materialism, especially when certain “indulgences” come at the expense of the environment or other human beings involved in the production process. There are plenty of sustainable practices and products to consciously treat yourself with a look-good, feel-good sensation that reverberates all around.
Stick With the Basics
Sometimes, self-care can take the form of even the most simple tasks. Get out of bed, take a shower, brush your teeth, and comb your hair. Listen to your body, and take it easy when you need to. You can make your approach to hygiene more sustainable by tossing the plastic toothbrushes for good and brushing with bamboo instead! Brush with Bamboo offers multi-packs of toothbrushes and oral care sets that are compostable and zero-waste. Remove the nylon bristles for recycling when you are switching toothbrushes, recycle the cardboard box, and let the bamboo work its magic on its own time.
You can also keep this handmade, organic soap-on-a-rope from Sweden-based brand, L:A Bruket, by your bathroom sink! Bathe your hands in a sweet, herby cloud of lemongrass or rosemary and nourish your tender, dry winter skin for a soft, supple, sustainable touch.
Find Your Yoga Practice
With deep roots in the ancient civilization of Northern India, yoga has long been embedded within a spiritual tradition that engages the body in order to settle the mind. The Baghavad Gita, a 700-verse Sanskrit epic at the heart of Hindu epistemology, describes yoga in its nascent form as “separation from contact with suffering” (6.23). I first began practicing yoga just as a means of physical fitness, but it has become an essential part of my weekly routine to calm the ferocious, foamy waves of thought that bubble up in my conscience. Being genuinely in tune with your body h e a l s. Explore this body of yours, and surprise yourself with what you can do.
Yoga to the People is a donation-based studio with multiple locations throughout NYC, perfect for yogis of all levels and backgrounds. You can rent a mat for $2 each class you attend (how sustainable and supportive of you!), or bring your own. If you choose the latter, make sure you avoid mats that contain high amounts of plastic, synthetic rubber, or PVC— a volatile hormone disruptor and toxic additive responsible for health complications and wildlife endangerment. Opt instead for something like the Jade Yoga Harmony Mat, with material sourced directly from rubber trees and renewable resources. Jade celebrates each purchase by planting a tree, so you can give life while centering your own.
Check In With Yourself Regularly
If you maintain a busy schedule teeming with lunch plans, work obligations and miscellaneous events you bookmarked on social media, you may experience overwhelming moments when your emotions, anxieties and deeply brooding thoughts suddenly resurface. To avoid these jarring blips of sudden confrontation, you may want to try incorporating a journal into your daily routine—or wherever it fits in naturally and organically. Carrying a journal around with you gives you the freedom to purge thoughts as they come, instead of waiting until the end of the day and reflecting on all the sensations you experienced throughout the last 24 hours.
It’s not difficult to find journals made from recycled paper, but if you’re a fan of a more chic and refined journalistic style, the CIAK Smart Notebook might be the perfect match for you. Indulging in the posh aesthetic of Italian leather goods, the CIAK Smart Notebook is a handmade journal sourced directly from Italy and recycled soft leather. With a simple horizontal band to hold it all together, all your musings will rest within its carefully recycled pages. Pair your notebook with the Sprout Pencil, which offers nine shades of natural clay and graphite, and ten different non-GMO seeds in the biodegradable seed capsule. When you’re done planting your message, plant your seed!
Recycle Your Style
It’s not uncommon to get bored with your style every year, every season, every month, every week, or maybe even every day! You are constantly changing, growing, shapeshifting, and evolving, and your daily emotions will often alter how you express yourself to the world. Buying new clothes every time you feel the compulsive urge at your core itching for change can become wasteful, but you can be a more mindful shopper by making the decision to thrift more often than you queue up at your favorite department stores.
Luckily, New York City is a gold mine for thrift shops in Brooklyn, Long Island City, and various areas throughout Manhattan. Beacon’s Closet and L Train Vintage are great for second-hand streetwear boots (even Doc Martens!) and chic coats (hello, extravagant cheetah print and faux fur!), while the LIC Goodwill is great if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and grab as many items as you can at once (you pay by weight!).
Clean Up Your Beauty Routine with Credo
Credo Beauty has lovely locations in Williamsburg and SoHo with magical wooden shelves overflowing with non-toxic, clean, and cruelty-free products for nourishing your skin and highlighting your beautiful features. BWB loves a weekend trip to Credo for Spacemasks Self-Heating Eye Masks and Honest Hazel 3-Treatment Gels Pack so we can heal our sleepy Sunday eyes and put a fresh face forward on an early Monday morning. The Skin Gym Rose Quartz FaceRoller also help keeps our entire faces plump, smooth, tight, and ready for whatever the rest of the work week has in store for us.
Credo also has you more than covered for guilt-free glitter & glam with products like the Vapour Siren Lipstick in Pin-Up, Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint in Glimmer, and Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara. Just a swipe of each product, and you’ll be ready to treat yourself to an indulgent night out without leaving behind such a big carbon footprint.
Slurp, Sleep, and Repeat!
The best habits I am loving these days are drinking water and sleeping. Keeping track of your water intake and sleeping a standard eight hours boosts your immune system, energy levels, and the overall quality of your skin. Say goodbye to dry, cracked, wintertime skin and say hello to a natural energy boost that shines from within. And best of all— both sleep and water are free!
Drink on the go with a mason jar and reusable straw— like this one on Etsy (we love to support a local business or seller!)— and use it even when purchasing drinks in store to avoid plastic usage.
There are more than enough ways to treat yourself that don’t come at the expense of others. So take care— and take care of the planet while you’re at it, too!
Teresa Deely is a junior at Columbia University majoring in English and Creative Writing. As President of the Columbia University Glee Club, she loves to sing, make music, and celebrate multiple modes of artistic expression. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. While she has spent most of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.