Are You Drowning in Stuff?

I moved house recently, which is fun and exciting but also rather tiring and draining. During the time-consuming and painful process of packing and relocating my things, I came to the realisation that I have accumulated a lot of stuff. A lot of clothes, a lot of shoes, a lot of books, stationary, jewellery and basically just a lot of meaningless crap.

Now, considering I am basically a gypsy, having officially moved seven times in the past five years (did I mention I like change?), in which each time I managed to significantly eliminate the quantity of useless junk I own, I have to admit that I’m kind of surprised, and frankly embarrassed, by the amount of unnecessary shit I have somehow still retained.

Seriously, the volume of virtually unused and (for the most part) unloved clothing that I found hiding away in my drawers or squished to the back of my closet was ridiculous. Yet for some reason I felt it necessary to keep hold of it all ‘just in case I wear it again’. Well, that ‘just in case’ moment never seemed to occur, and so this time I sucked it up and chucked it all straight into the good Sammy’s pile.

I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder. I don’t really have that much stuff and I don’t buy things very often. Yet whilst packing up my life, I did feel a strange and unjustified connection to some of the things I have accumulated. An unwarranted attachment to books I had never read and necklaces I’d never worn. Each time another item was ditched in the bin or thrown towards the salvos collection, I felt some momentary grief. It stung a little bit. I was hesitant to part ways. Though not because I was mourning the loss of that pair of high waisted denim shorts. Nope. I felt sadness for all the money that had been wasted over superficial crap. All the money that I was basically just throwing away. All the money that could’ve been put towards better things.

Better things like travelling and experiences. Exploring and chasing adventures. Weekend road trips, spontaneous mid-week outings and dinners with friends. All the stuff that create lasting memories, not just collect dust in the back of a cupboard somewhere. That’s what I believe life is all about- collecting moments, not things.

It was money that could have helped feed a homeless man on the street or rescued a stray puppy or provided a water well for an entire village in a third-world country. Yet it was money just sitting in my wardrobe achieving nothing, providing no purpose, collecting dust.

It makes me angry. Both at myself and at society. Angry that I wasted so much money on useless possessions, but mostly angry that we live in a world where such a huge importance is placed on materialistic things. We are a society ruled by consumerism. We want our houses to resemble a photograph in an interior design magazine. We spend money on new outfits, only to wear them once. We are constantly upgrading to the newest technology when what we already have works perfectly fine.

Why do we do it? Why do we feel the need to dress up our lives in sparkles and glitter? Western society has put unrealistic expectations on us to always be, look and have the best of everything. Social media, with its #fitspo models, online clothing boutiques and sponsored posts is hugely to blame too. Instagram and Facebook encourage us to become fixated on appearance and possessions. Social media makes us become aware of products we didn’t even know about, yet suddenly we need them.

It’s easy to get sucked up in it all. Become victim to the way of the world. It surrounds us everywhere we go. It is constantly in our face – consciously and subconsciously. But I guess we each, as individuals need to decide what is more important to us? Stuff or unforgettable experiences? Having an amazing wardrobe or helping others?

Here’s some fuel for thought…

No one is going to stand up at your funeral and say, “She had a really expensive couch and great shoes.” Don’t make your life be about materialistic stuff.

That right there, sums it all up.

Love Elo xx

I’m an Introvert Trapped in an Extroverted Personality

You know those people who love to fill every minute of their down time with plans? Those who live for the weekends, to go out and be social? Dinner with the girls Friday night, drinks and dancing Saturday night and beach all day with the crew Sunday? You know, the people who see the weekend as an opportunity to be as social as possible.

Well, I am not one of those people.

The other day I was speaking to a work colleague when I mentioned to her that I am an introvert.

“No you’re not!” She exclaimed in shock – half expecting me to say I was joking. “You are far too sociable and outgoing to be an introvert. You are definitely an extrovert,” she protested.

Firstly, you don’t know me! Secondly, thank you for the lovely compliments. But thirdly, you’re wrong! I am an introvert.

I totally understand why she would say that though. I am bubbly and animated. I am friendly, happy and I pretty much always smiling or laughing. I generally have a lot of energy and have on many occasions been likened to an excitable puppy. (Think golden retriever pup discovering it’s tail for the first time). I can also be pretty chatty. Very chatty in fact. To anyone from the outside looking in, I am a lively little extrovert.

I may not appear to fit the stereotypical mould of what is perceived as a classic ‘introvert’, but truthfully I am.

You see, people have a bit of a confused perception of what it really means to be an introvert. Introverts are shy. Introverts don’t like people. Introverts always want to be alone. These are just some of the myths people believe about introverts. However, what really makes a person an introvert or extrovert is how they obtain their energy. Generally, extroverts thrive in social situations. They are energised by being around people. This is the opposite of introverts, who are energised by being alone.

And that’s exactly why I fit into the latter category.

When the weekend comes, I am the person who gets excited to hermit for two days straight. To roll myself up in a blanket burrito and watch a movie. Not much makes me happier than doing a whole lot of nothing with me,myself and I. (Other than doing a whole lot of nothing with my man). That’s my idea of bliss. Mention a night out of drinking or a party of more than 10 people and I am basically spun into a spiral of social anxiety. Those are the sort of things that exhaust me. Drain me. Not necessarily physically, but mentally.

Extroverts love being surrounded by people. They are generally the life of the party and don’t mind being the centre of attention. They feel energised by group interactions and get bored easily on their own. Introverts… not so much. Introverts think a lot and require their alone time to recharge and process life’s happenings. It’s not that we are anti-social or shy or even loners. It’s just that is how we roll.

In large social situations like parties, events or anything that involves a room full of strangers, introverts can become overwhelmed, anxious and uncomfortable. I for one, recluse in these scenarios and feel as if I cannot be my true self. What introverts need is a reason to interact. We don’t interact just for the sake of it. We think for ourselves and just want everyone to be real and honest. Making small talk doesn’t come naturally. We won’t say anything unless we have something to say. But get us chatting about something we are interested in or passionate about and we won’t shut up! It’s all about one-on-one quality time with close friends and like-minded individuals.

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Truth is, most people aren’t 100% extroverted or 100% introverted. You can be an extrovert who has introverted qualities or an introvert that has extroverted qualities. It basically comes down to how you recharge your energy? Do you need to be around others or do you require solo time to renergise? Do you feel bored when you are on your own or do you live for those moments?

If you are interested in finding out more about introversion and extroversion I suggest reading the book Quiet by Susan Cain. You can even do this personality test to see where you sit on the scale. (This test is what confirmed to me, exactly what I suspected all this time… I am an extroverted-introvert)

Love Elo xx

 

Photograph by @jypsea_

Would You Juice?

Juice cleanses are like, so hot right now! You just have to jump on Instagram to see thousands of photos tagged with #juicecleanse to know that.

Some people love the idea of juicing, others hate it. Some people think it is a great way to reset and detox the body, others believe only consuming liquid for 2, 3 or 5 days must be unhealthy. Valid points. I mean, each to their own. Prior to the weekend, my opinion was pretty neutral on it. I’d never done one before so how was I to make an educated judgement? However, after completing my 2-day cleanse experience, I am now totally an advocate!

There are a bunch of different reasons why people decide to do a juice cleanse – for just a bit of a kickstart, a light detox or a more intense cleanse. Me, I did it for a bit of a reset. To get my body feeling fresh and most importantly, get my head in the right gear. I had been struggling with my food choices lately. Eating too much and not always making the healthiest decisions. I needed a bit of a kickstart – a reboot of my body but mostly my mind. I wanted to get back into a healthy mindset when it came to diet and making good food choices. A mental cleanse if you may.

Before I got stuck into my 2-day cleanse I did a bit of research. With so many brands and cold-pressed juice companies around now, I wanted to make sure I choose the right one. Made Juice was recommended to me by a friend and also happened to be the best value for money. Winning! Not to mention, the options they had available to suit all types of cleansers, was a huge draw card. It meant I could choose the cleanse that best suited me. I opted for the ‘made for health’ 2-day cleanse, but next time (yes, I said next time) I think I’ll try the next step up and get the ‘made for recharging’ pack.

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So what were my thoughts on the cleanse? I loved it. More than I expected to actually. The juices were filling and super delicious. Admittedly, I did have a bit of a headache on day 2 but otherwise I felt surprisingly energised. Post cleanse I feel incredible. Refreshed, reset and energised. Since finishing I have been less hungry and I all I want to put in my body is health and nourishment. Goal achieved!

Were the juices tasty? Were they ever! My favourite was the ‘fruit’ and the ‘root’ juice. And as far as cold-pressed green juices go, the Made Juice one is the nicest I have ever tasted.

Did I feel hungry? Truthfully, no. Any time I felt any kind of hunger pangs I knew it was time to have my next juice, which would keep me full for a good 2 or 3 hours. At the sight or smell of food, sometimes I thought I was hungry, but in reality I was just envious of something I couldn’t have. Take a toy away from a child, the child will only want it more.

Would I do it again? Absolutely! Next time bigger and better! I don’t think I could ever commit to a 5-dayer though.

Thinking of doing a juice cleanse? Here are my tips to get you through:

1. Think ahead and plan your cleansing days wisely. Perhaps do it on your days off or on a day you know you won’t be surrounded by temptations… Preferably not on a day that coincides with a social event or anything involving food. Seriously, don’t torture yourself.

2. Give your partner/friends/colleagues/housemates a bit of a heads up about your cleanse. You might get moody and you might get HANGRY so it’s in everyone’s best interest to be forewarned.

3. Don’t be around food. Seriously, if you can avoid being around food, avoid it. Seeing food, seeing other people eating food, smelling food isn’t fun when you know you can’t have it. It’s the old ‘we always want what we can’t have’ thing.

4. Distract yourself. Keep yourself busy. Read a book or watch some movies in bed (or in my case, multiple episodes of the OC). You’ll find being preoccupied will stop you from counting down the hours until you can eat again.

5. Get a buddy on board. Anything difficult is always made easier when you have someone by your side. Even just for accountability. I have to admit, at times I wished my boyfriend was juice cleansing as well so we could at least suffer (I mean, enjoy it) together.

6. Stock up on toilet paper. When you are literally only consuming liquid for 48 hours you need to pee A L O T! Part of the juice cleanse process is the elimination of toxins from your body – that means your kidneys will be working in overdrive and yep, you will need to wee pretty much every half an hour.

7. Master your mind. It really is a mind over matter thing, the ole’ juice cleanse. Half the time when you think your hungry for food, it’s not the case. The juices are quite filling and to be honest there weren’t that many times I felt famished. But when a certain time of day comes round in which you are usually eating lunch or dinner your mind can start to trick you into thinking you are hungry when you are not. So keep a strong mental focus and you’ll be fine.

8. Drink plenty of water. Drinking lots of H2o between your juices is necessary to stay hydrated and help the detox process.

9. Light exercise only. This one goes without saying. With less energy (food) going into your body, the less energy you should exert. Keep exercise to a minimum. Probably opt for some light walking over a heavy weight session or intense HIIT workout.

10. Enjoy it, Don’t resent it. Just enjoy the process.  Be proud of your willpower and the fact you are doing something amazing to nourish your body. Notice how light and refreshed you feel and focus on that feeling accomplishment once it’s all over!

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No matter your reason for cleansing – whether to completely detox your body or just get your head back into a healthy mindset, I highly recommend giving it a go.

What are your thoughts on juice cleanses? Love them or hate them? Have you tried one before? Leave me a comment below.

Love Elo xx