In my last post about my sustainability philosophy, I spoke about how to connect to the planet by being more aware of your choices. As a next step, I want to take you through a day in my life to show you the conscious choices I try to make each day to reach my sustainability goals.
Remember, my day isn’t an exact template. You don’t need to compare what I do to what you do with a critical eye. Our paths each look different. Instead, I encourage you to use this as inspiration to explore what could work in your life. First and foremost, be kind to yourself, always!
I wake up to the sun streaming into my apartment. I love the way the city sounds in the morning, as the ambient activity begins to creep in and the air around me warms the loft. Some people thrive on quiet but I’m most energized by being around others. I’m a social creature, which is why New York is the perfect fit for me.
Once I’m out of bed, I start the day with a celery juice to help clean out my system. I can’t say I love the taste of the celery, but I can feel the fresh minerals invigorating each cell of my body as I drink it. Then, I fortify myself with a special tonic made with water, lemon, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar and ginger. How lucky are we to have plants on Earth that offer us such nourishment?
I go on to eat a piece of Ezekiel sprouted bread with half an avocado and eggs. I usually eat at least one avocado a day — I love them! The other half of the avocado goes in a silicone Stasher bag for later. These bags are a perfect replacement for a typical plastic sandwich bag and they are amazing. I never have to throw them out or buy new ones, and they keep my food extra fresh.
I find that my breakfast choices form such a good foundation for the day, and it’s especially enriching when those choices are good for the environment, too. It’s important to me to make sure my produce is organic and as sustainable as possible, which often means doing extra (but essential!) research. Local foods from farmer’s markets are a wonderful option, especially if they are organic and their production is less harmful to the environment. Whenever I grocery shop, at the farmer’s market or the store, I bring cloth produce bags from @PackageFreeShop. Check them out — they have starter kits for every room of the house!
While I eat breakfast, I start on my morning writing routine. Writing helps set the tone for the day and connects me more fully to my own thoughts. I write down five affirmations, five mini-goals, five things I’m grateful for and one new idea. The new idea is the most exciting part — it often multiplies into 10 new ideas and ignites my entrepreneurial spirit. Over and over, I’ve read about people “mastering their mornings and mastering their lives,” and you know what? While initially I shrugged the correlation off, I now know it rings true for me.
Here’s a writing sample from my morning:
Once my mind is awake, I want my body to be as well. I light a candle and do a five-minute yoga stretch: Downward dog, plank, tree pose, stretch left, stretch right, warrior one, warrior two, wheel pose and, finally, a head stand. In this last stretch, I feel a stream of energy shoot through my body. I’m suddenly awake and my body is alive. I love living and I love yoga. Now I’m ready for the world.
I head to my working corner, a computer station near a window that gets a ton of direct sunlight. My pups, Amelie and Kingston, follow at my heels and settle down by my feet. (I call them my fuzzy four-legged co-workers! They are quite supportive.) If it’s warm out, I’ll open the windows to feel the breeze on my face. There’s something so calming about being close to nature, which is not always easy in New York, so this spot of sun is everything to me.
As I sort my emails, I start a fresh page on Notability, an app I use on my iPad to write lists and ideas. I really like this app because it allows me to hand-write things without using paper.
11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Then it’s off to work. On any given day, I will have three to four remote meetings and a handful of projects to work on all at once. Our Pildora team is spread across different parts of the globe and it’s incredibly rewarding to brainstorm and communicate with each other virtually. I sometimes forget how connected we all are and how amazing it is to have these new ways to communicate.
Here’s a sample of a few projects I worked on today:
- Meeting with my creative director and videographer about my new video logo and intro/outro. Stay tuned to see our final result.
- Connecting with some new designers about their latest collections to see how we can best showcase them in our designer spotlight page.
- Brainstorming next month’s blog calendar with my writers and editors. We have so many great things planned!
Work days energize me. I love the creative work we all do together at Pildora. I know this isn’t the reality for everyone, but try finding the small things that give you joy in your own jobs. Maybe it’s not the work but the loyal and funny coworkers that make your day sparkle. Or, perhaps the day-to-day doesn’t excite you, but the overall impact of your work is something you take pride in.
When I’m feeling uninspired, I take a walk to clear my head or do a lightning-quick total-body stretch. If I can’t leave my desk, I imagine my favorite color — a dusty pale blue that reminds me of the ocean — and embrace it. There are things we can control about our lives and things on which we have to consciously shift perspective. These small changes can make a big impact.
Three times a week, I go to the gym with my amazing trainer @SweatwithKat, who specializes in women’s empowerment. She believes in loving your body through fitness and a healthy diet, and making adjustments in your life rather than setting restrictions. I think it’s a beautiful way to look at health.
Other days, I practice hot yoga at @modoyoganyc. I find it really centering and it can often help me learn lessons I may not have otherwise grasped. For example, last week I went to a Yin/Yang Class where you connect with your feminine and masculine self at different points in the class. Towards the end, we stretched deep into our shoulders. My hands reached for each other behind my back, but couldn’t connect. I felt frustrated and unsure of myself. The instructor gently reminded us that we should focus on letting go. So I took a deep breath and imagined myself weightless, floating joyfully upwards. My hands fell gracefully into one another.
That moment helped me understand: Sometimes, when we push ourselves too hard, we work against the Earth rather than alongside it. Once you become vulnerable to the forces around you, you can connect more deeply.
Before heading to my last destination of the day — a grad school night class — I throw on my @Reformation top with my @zerowastedaniel tracksuit pants (perfect for any occasion). Choosing my clothes has become progressively easier: I’ve added more sustainable options to my wardrobe and sold or donated clothes that no longer represent my values. It means everything to support people and brands committed to ethical design.
This class is one of my favorite parts of the day. I’m currently in my last semester at Parsons School of Design, part of The New School, where I am working to earn a Master’s in Strategy Design and Management. I cherish learning in an academic environment, especially at Parsons, where sustainability is built into each curriculum. My specific program is designed for entrepreneurs. Each semester, we consider how to solve design problems and operate a sustainable business. It’s invigorating to learn from my community and peers.
Walking home to my loft, I’m in awe of the city around me. I can see the smoke rising from the streets and hear the soft strains of music from a street performer. The day seems to melt away, leaving something quieter and more pensive in its wake. I’m so grateful for this city and the challenges it has brought into my life.
New York presents plenty of obstacles — long commutes, crowded streets — but it has also been a place of opportunity for me. This city is full of people, brands and companies who seek to make a positive impact, and I’m lucky to have met so many of them.
A couple times a month, I make it a priority to attend events held by different sustainable stores or venues to network, learn or just hang out with amazing people. Forming these connections and getting out into the world helps me grow Pildora and further integrate sustainability into my own life.
Before bed, I wash my face with an organic cotton cloth and all-natural cleansers. The cloths are easily washed and reused, rather than thrown away like disposable cotton balls. I brush my teeth with a bamboo toothbrush and floss with my zero-waste dental floss from @Dentallace. Using environment-friendly products, even in these small routines, helps reinforce that I’m ending my day in the best way I can.
Throughout my day, I have integrated small changes that require minimal change on my part yet have a large impact on our Earth. I continue to work on building more Earth-friendly changes into my home and life each week. The point is: a sustainable life can be built one tiny step at a time.
Then it’s time for a bit of pre-bedtime reading, catching up on news or just quiet thinking. No two days are identical but I try to infuse them all with the common threads of mindfulness and joy.
Try plotting out your day, either by mentally cataloging it or writing it down, and see what common threads you can pull out. What values are apparent in your routine? Are there any missing values that you may want to integrate? Above all, pay attention to what moments make you feel the most fulfilled; those are the moments you want to focus on and recreate.
I hope this glimpse into my day has been encouraging and inspiring. For me, creating this record by jotting down notes and having the ability to examine my day has been a learning and growing experience. Give it a try: hopefully, you too will learn something new about yourself in the process.