4 Amazing Ways Doing Yoga Everyday has Changed Me

I’ll admit that I’m not normally someone who buys into the “New Year New Me” vibe in a big way – years of living with anxiety and depression has taught me that setting really high stakes for myself and forcing sudden, sharp changes in routine is more likely to lead to a feeling of overwhelment or failure, than to trigger real, lasting changes. However, in 2018 (I think mostly because January 1st was a Monday and that just really made me feel great), I decided to really try and take back control of my life. This manifested in many different ways, which I’ll write about in the future, but today I want to talk about one of my favourite and most beneficial changes that I’ve made: I started an (almost) daily at-home yoga practise! I’m not going to lie, I’ve missed days here and there, but for the first 110 days I showed up for myself every, single day, and I want to talk about how that’s made me feel and the difference its made for me.

close up of someone in a yoga pose

1. I feel like a part of something – I feel connected.

I joined Adriene from Yoga With Adriene on her 30 day “True” series which ran from January 2nd – January 31st (but you can start any time!), showing up on my mat every day and knowing that people all around the world were doing the same, gave me a feeling of connection and strength that I didn’t expect. Following along with other people’s journeys in the comments – knowing if I was struggling, I wasn’t struggling alone, and knowing that if I became emotional, I wasn’t crying alone. I honestly never expected to feel a sense of community as I sat doing downward-dog in my pyjamas on a rainy January morning, but thanks to Adriene’s kindness and inclusiveness, I really did. Even after True ended, the feeling continued, which was a beautiful surprise I couldn’t have seen coming.

2. It helps me leave the house

A large part of my anxiety has, for a long time, hinged on a fear of leaving the house and as a result I have gone weeks at a time without doing so (thank heavens for online grocery shopping)! Fortunately, this symptom seems to be easing and I have no doubt that it is in part due to doing yoga in the mornings. Starting each day slowly, but intentionally, focusing on my breathing and how I’m feeling allows me to really check-in with myself. It gives me time to focus on what I want to achieve in a day, and to feel motivated by that, rather than engulfed in the fear and the “what-ifs”. By the time I’ve finished my practice I feel centred and focused – and don’t get me wrong, some days the anxiety still wins – but much, much more often I have this little fire lit within me of determination and drive and it spurs me on to achieving more in a day than at times I’ve been able to do in a month.

 

3. It helps me stay in a good routine with eating and drinking

Similarly to how taking time on my mat each morning gives me focus for work and for leaving the house, it also starts the ball rolling with good eating and hydration habits. I exercise, so I’m hungry and thirsty, but because I’m also in tune with myself I’m much more likely to take the time to make something properly and eat it, rather than ignoring the feeling of hunger until I’m “starving” and eating three Pop Tarts. Ditto with hydration, I’m listening to my body and hearing that I’m thirsty and so I drink – simple, no? But I find that once I start a day eating and drinking “properly” like this then I am much more likely to keep it going as the day goes on: because let’s face it, if your day starts with 3 Pop Tarts and chocolate milk, it’s much easier to just call the whole thing a write off!

extended child's pose

 

4. I no longer feel like my back is being subjected to some sort of medieval torture device on a 24 hour basis

Perhaps least shocking of the things listed here, it has never the less been revolutionary for me! Thanks to almost lifelong anxiety, I definitely have some issues with muscle tension and sure, asking Kenny for a quick neck rub alleviates the symptoms temporarily… but within a couple of hours I can feel the pain and tension returning because I’m not taking the time to *properly* relax and stretch my muscles.
Doing yoga each day can sometimes be tough mentally. Some days I’m frustrated with myself, or tired, or worried about things off the mat and yes, in an ideal world I’d always be able to shut those things out and commit 100% to my practice, but I’m human, you know? So sometimes showing up for myself means a deep, meditative practice, sometimes it’s a time for emotional release and other times, it’s just a good stretch and all of that is OK.
At first I watched a video of Adriene’s every day, learning so much from each different routine, but, as time went on I came to learn my “favourite” poses, the ones that really work for me, and now I love being able to freestyle and create routines that really pay attention to the areas I need to work on, – hello cat-cow.

I feel like I could have written something more formal or cohesive than this, but honestly, I can’t really help gushing about my yoga experience – it has changed so much for me, and not only that, but it’s helped me things I never thought it could! I did yoga on happy days like my birthday, and on sad days like the day we thought we were going to have to put our cat to sleep. Every day was different, but every experience left me stronger at the end. I can’t imagine not doing yoga now, and honestly, if you’ve ever been curious, I really recommend giving it a go – Adriene’s channel is a fantastic way to start, I’ll see you there!

Trying Out a Seasonal Makeup Capsule

Starting to use a Capsule Wardrobe system has already helped me out so much – I won’t bang on about it here, but check out this post if you’re looking to find out more about how I’m finding things so far. A Capsule Wardrobe has helped me to really appreciate what I already own and see that I don’t *need* new clothes the way all the adverts try and convince me that I do. Surely, then, for someone like me who has definitely had a problem with over-shopping for makeup in the past, a Seasonal Makeup Capsule may also work?

For one reason or another, I’ve definitely been feeling the itch to shop for new makeup recently whilst simultaneously wearing it less than I have in years (?!?! I know, right). In an effort to make use of all that I really own and to convince myself I don’t need any more, I’ve been trying to grab for different makeup products from my stash, but, much the same as trying to do this in a stuffed-full closet, it’s definitely leading to my makeup experience being more chaotic and time consuming, than fun and adventurous.

So I thought, hey, let’s try out a Seasonal Makeup Capsule! So far it’s been great fun taking a step back and putting together the capsule – choosing out all my most Summer-ish shades of pink lipstick and putting them aside to be included: to make sure I’m actually aware of them and using them at the time of year that makes sense (for me). It’s also been good for me to see how only being “allowed” to use a few different options of certain items, can *still* feel like plenty of choice.

For me, I don’t have a big makeup bag or spare space to store my Seasonal Makeup Capsule separately, so what I’ve been doing is just opening up the image at the top of this post each morning to remind me what’s included. Initially I thought this was probably *not* a good way of doing things, but, you know, needs must – but actually, I feel really inspired looking at them presented on the screen like that, probably more so than I would do if I was rummaging about in a makeup bag. So that’s something worth keeping in mind if you’re thinking of doing this yourself.

I’m excited to see how this continues for me throughout the rest of Summer, but at the moment I can definitely see myself continuing this system into Autumn and beyond. I’ll definitely write a post near the end of August (I switch over to Autumn in September) to round-up on how I found the overall experience – let me know down below if you have any other content you’d like to see from me on this subject!

Do you mix up your makeup for a new season? Do you have any tips for me, or anyone else who’s new to it out there?

 

The 15 Items I Wore Most Often in Spring

Oh, I’ve been excited about this post! I’m a bit of a data and Spreadsheed fanatic and one of the things I’ve loved most about using a Capsule Wardrobe system is tracking the “wear count” of items; being able to see what I’m *really* reaching for over and over again, and let me tell you, it’s not necessarily the things I think I wear “loads”.

image of all 15 items and the title

One quick note before we just jump in – I’ve listed a cost per wear for each item, because I find that so interesting (for my own wardrobe, and also for other people’s). However the cost per wear is worked out simply for the number of wears I have listed – so, every time I’ve worn it since I started this system in March. Of course, some items I’ve owned for a long time before this and have worn plenty of times before starting this project, so of course, their cost per wear would be lower – but I have no way of estimating that so I’ve just stuck with this simple method because I still find it interesting, I have however, put a (!) after the names of items that I owned and wore before starting this project, so you can differentiate them if you’d rather ignore that cost per wear data or whatever.

So here we go, the 15 items I wore most often in Spring 2018!

small, cross-body, black leather bag

1. black leather cross-body bag 
Wear count: 27 
Cost: £4.00 
How I obtained it: charity shop
Current cost per wear: £0.15
While on one hand it would be easy to look at a piece like this and think, yeah, it’s fairly easy to see why this is such a work horse – and I mean yeah, it’s a simple, wearable black, leather cross-body bag, so in one way, it’s no surprise to see it top the list, but on the other hand… I only thrifted this bag in March, so what on Earth was I doing *before* I owned it? Have I just gotten really lazy in using it all the time now?

black, skinny jeans

2. black Molly jeans
Wear count: 24
Cost: £45.00 
How I obtained them: birthday present
Current cost per wear: £1.88
Another fairly predictable entry here, however as I mentioned in this post, my sister gifted me these jeans for my birthday – and having owned many of these jeans over the years, both of us were disappointed in the quality of our most recent pairs. So frankly, in some ways I *am* surprised to see this particular pair on here as I really wasn’t sure they’d even hold together for this many wears! They are still going strong though, thank goodness, though they’re definitely fading faster than previous pairs I’ve owned.

black snood

3. black snood(!)
Wear count: 23
Cost: £8.00
How I obtained it: old fast-fashion bought on sale 
Current cost per wear: £0.35 
This fact that my third most worn item for Spring is a thick, black scarf is probably a good way of describing just how late Spring hit Scotland this year! Still, I wear this a lot really, it goes with everything and because it’s a snood it doesn’t slide of my neck or try and strangle me, which is always a plus!

grey, converse hi-tops, well worn


4. grey tie-dye Converse hi-top(!)
Wear count: 22
Cost: £14.00
How I obtained it: second hand store
Current cost per wear: £0.64
I’ve walked my way through a LOT of Converse shoes since I started wearing them when I was about thirteen. This pair has been no exception, these have been a staple for me since I bought them second hand last Spring, sadly though, they are starting to fall apart a bit now… still, not giving up, I’ve known Converse to hang in there for a good while after they reach even this stage.

black leather chelsea boots

5. black leather Chelsea boot(!)
Wear count: 22
Cost: £38.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion bought full price
Current cost per wear: £1.73
Another item I’m not at all surprised to see on here – if anything, I’m just most surprised that my Converse came in ahead of them! What can I say, I love these, they go with everything and they actually fit me super well, which, with my size 2 feet, is definitely a novelty for me!

faux leather jacket with studs

6. black faux-leather jacket(!)
Wear count: 21
Cost: £12.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought on sale
Current cost per wear: £0.57
I love the look of a leather jacket when it’s used to create some contrast in styles. I love pairing mine with smarter button-down shirts, or more flowy, silky type items – it just adds that sort of a tough vibe, which I freaking love. I have owned this jacket for years and years, and given it was fast-fashion bought on sale, it has held up incredibly well… thank goodness, because I can’t imagine being without it!

black rain jacket

7. black rain coat(!)
Wear count: 19
Cost: £30.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought on sale
Current cost per wear: £1.58
Another slightly scary depiction of the Scottish climate! This jacket may not be super stylish but it gets the  job done and fits in reasonably well with the rest of my outfits, and plus, it definitely beats getting soaked while out running errands!

black leather belt with detailed silver buckle

8. black leather belt(!)
Wear count: 14
Cost: £16.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought full price
Current cost per wear: £1.14
I’m surpised and happy to see this so high up on the list! I bought this last year (fast fashion before I made the commitment to stop doing that), and I sort of regretted the purchase – not because I didn’t love it, but just because for a long time I had zero idea how to style it! I made the effort to try it some different ways, and now it is literally one of my favourite pieces.

grey zip-up sweatshirt

9. pale grey sweatshirt(!)
Wear count:14
 How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought full price
Cost: £15.00
Current cost per wear: £1.07
I’m honestly surpised to see this on here (so surprised in fact that I went and double checked it)! I really felt like I hadn’t been wearing super casual stuff like this very much since starting my Capsule system, in fact, I strongly considered not having a sweatshirt like this in my core capsule at all! Looking at my Spreadsheet though, I think the reason this made its way on here, was because I wore it a lot layered under my leather jacket, in the long (long, long) time before Spring hit and it wasn’t warm enough for the leather jacket on its own. It’s interesting though and definitely an item I’ll be keeping an eye on.

sterling silver lightening bolt necklace

10. silver lightening bolt necklace
Wear count: 14
Cost: £12.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought on sale
Current cost per wear: £0.86 
This is an interesting one for me to see here because for quite a long time I’ve had no idea what was happening with my jewellery – how much did I own? Did I actually wear it? And so seeing this simple, silver piece being worn so much gives me an indication of what my style *actually* is, and that can only be a good thing as I decide what items to keep going forward, and even further down the line as I try to decide on new purchases.

black faux leather studded bag

11. black faux-leather studded, slouchy bag
Wear count: 12
Cost: £2.25
How I obtained it: charity shop
Current cost per wear: £0.19
I only picked up this bag in late-April – so it’s clear it’s been a pretty much instant hit! Again, a bit like the smaller back in the number one position of this post, it’s kind of weird to think what the heck I was doing *before* I had this bag in my life. It’s great because it’s one of those bags that can hold a lot but because of it’s slouchy shape, it doesnt look over the top or huge if you just don’t fill it very full. I love the studs too – a nice hark back to my teenage, mosher roots and that style I love so much.

light wash denim mom jeans

12. Mom jeans
Wear count: 11
Cost: £5.00
How I obtained them: charity shop
Current cost per wear: £0.45
I’m so happy to see these here on the list, because when I got them in March, having worn only skinny jeans for literally more than a decade, I felt so weird in these! Just getting used to the different silhouette seemed impossible, and so many times I put them on and took them off again before I left the house. I’m so glad I made the effort to actually try them properly as now I love them so much – I love the different silhouette they create, the very different style; not to mention the nice thick denim and ACTUAL FRONT POCKETS.

cambridge satchel cross body bag purple

13. Purple Cambridge Satchel bag(!)
Wear count: 10
Cost: £70.00
How I obtained it: bought new, on sale
Current cost per wear: £7.00
Honestly, I’ve had this bag for almost 18 months at this point and wore it so, so much before this capsule system kicked in (or really before I got the other two bags mentioned on this list) that I think, as much as I love it, I was happy to have a break from it for a little while. Definitely excited to bring it out more in Summer though with some of the colour palettes I have planned.

cosy black wool-mix cardigan


14. long, black cardigan(!)
Wear count: 9
Cost: £28.00
How I obtained it: old, fast-fashion, bought full price
Current cost per wear: £3.11
Again, so Spring-like, no? What can I say I love how cosy this is and the sort of slouchy vibes it gives off – it’s maybe not quite as oversized as I wish it was, but hey, it is so comfy and warm!

charcoal wash denim dungarees

15. black dungarees
Wear count: 8
Cost: £14.00
How I obtained them: second hand
Current cost per wear: £1.75
This is a crazy one to make the list (well, I mean this is what passes for crazy in my life), seeing as how I only found these in a second hand store in mid May! I have wanted dungarees for years and years and I couldnt believe when I found this pair, second hand and for such a great price! The only reason I haven’t worn them any more, is simply because it’s been too hot here recently (things I never thought I would say about Scotland)!

So there we go, that’s the 15 items I wore most often in Spring! Am I surprised? What have I learned?

  • One thing that jumps out at me, is that there are no “tops” in here. There are sweaters and coats, but no t-shirts or the like, which shows that I wear my practical items like a rain jacket so much more often than any one t-shirt I own. Historically though, I’ve always put the most time and effort into shopping for cute blouses or well-fiting tees, and seeing this data is helping me realise that actually, I would probably be better spending that time and effort on smaller – but arguably more key – categories like shoes and bags.
  • The other fairly obvious thing, I think, is how monochromatic this post is! The only bit of colour is the Cambridge Satchel bag, and even then, it’s a very subtle, wearable colour – not exactly what you’d call a “pop” of colour. The thing is though, I don’t wish it was different for me. I think this post reaffirms for me that I reall do favour wearing black and grey and that’s worth keeping in mind as I go forward, especially when it comes to choosing a new core item like a rain jacket – sure I’ve always wanted a yellow one, but actually, I’ll probably feel more comfortable in a black number!

And so that’s that, Spring is gone and Summer is here, and I’m very excited to see what I end up wearing most this season!

What about you? Do you track your item wears like this? Even if not, what did you reach for most in Spring? Was it super late arriving where you live too?