Over the past few days, I have done a very unsustainable amount of retail therapy. Living in this socially-distanced and uncertain world is hard, and it is so easy for me to revert back to my negative habits of shopping to “feel good” – even though I literally just wrote a post about how I’m not doing that. Consumerism is sneaky, isn’t it?
Wearing things I already owned. Except the shorts – new-to-me vintage, ordered a few weeks ago and were delivered yesterday.
I recently ordered two pairs of sandals, an Ilia makeup set, a tank top, and a dress. All absolutely lovely, but entirely unnecessary, seeing as I don’t go anywhere and didn’t need any of these items. Not to mention, I’ve received a couple shipments of items I ordered awhile ago (since the general lead time for slow fashion items is 4-6 weeks, plus there are longer shipping times in general given COVID-19). My lizard brain has been very excited to receive packages, and I realized I need to always actively work to not get swept up in the cycle of work, make money, buy things, work more to make more money to buy more things. It’s really not all that fulfilling when you think of it like that, but it’s so easy for it to seem fulfilling. Our life’s purpose isn’t to buy stuff!
When I’m at my best at avoiding unnecessary consumption, I notice I am a lot happier, but a lot of that positive behavior relied on spending time with friends and family. Obviously, we can’t really do that right now, so I wanted to take some time to reflect on self-care that is free (or mostly free), sustainable and socially-distanced.
Try a closet hack. I came across this article on decluttering your closet with just one box yesterday and thought it was such a great idea that I already implemented it. All you need to do is put an empty cardboard box in the bottom of your closet. Whenever you try something on and think, “I’ll wear it eventually…” toss it in the box instead of hanging it back up. When the box is full, consign, donate or repurpose the clothing. It’s so much easier to clean your closet as you go along, rather than trying to do everything at once.
Make a new recipe. Okay, this isn’t really free if you don’t have the ingredients, but it can be fun and affordable if you work with what you have! If you’d like to try something new, below is one of my favorite vegan-friendly summer recipes.
For accessibility, here is the recipe not in an image, too!
Buffalo Tempeh Bowls
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red onion
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 cucumber
- 2 radishes
- 1 garlic clove
- 8 oz tempeh
- ¼ cup Buffalo sauce
- ¼ cup vegan sour cream
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 2 tbsp + 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cook quinoa per package directions.
Trim, deseed, and thinly slice the red bell pepper and green bell pepper. Peel and thinly slice the onion. Thinly slice celery. Slice cucumber into half moons. Cut radishes into matchsticks. Peel and mince the garlic.
Place the sliced bell peppers and sliced onion on a baking sheet and toss with 2 tsp oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast until tender and slightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes.
Heat 2 tbsp vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Crumble tempeh and add to the skillet, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until golden brown and crisp in places, 4 to 5 minutes. Add Buffalo sauce and cook until sauce thickens, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the minced garlic, sour cream, dill, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk the dill sour cream until smooth.
Place quinoa, vegetables and tempeh into shallow bowls and top with dill sour cream!
Read the same book as a friend. Book clubs can be hard to stay committed to, but I love reading the same book as just one or two of my friends and discussing them informally. Many libraries and local bookstores are currently offering curbside service, or you can try Audible.
I’m currently reading Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Revisit an old hobby. Starting new hobbies can be expensive, but I think most of us have hobbies we have tried and abandoned, probably due to a lack of time. With more time being spent at home, now is a great opportunity to revisit some of those! I’ve been practicing my knitting again, and I already have all the supplies.
Make a playlist. (Bonus points if you send it to a friend). Music is the perfect way to lift any mood, and it’s so much fun to share it with others! Make a short playlist for a friend. I find this is especially fun if they have a hobby that goes great with music (like running or cooking) and you can share some of your favorite songs that fit that vibe. I wish someone would make me a playlist for when I have to steam all my clothes – haha!
In the meantime, I made this one for all of you with a selection of songs I have been listening to lately.
Propagate some veggies. I just started doing this and it is so fun! You can grow a lot of vegetables from scraps, just by placing them in water. I’m currently growing scallions and celery, and it also works with lettuce. Simply cut off the bottom or base of your vegetable and lay it in a bowl with just a bit of warm water in the bottom. Once they get a little hefty, transplant them into soil.
Browse Pinterest. I love Pinterest for days when I feel ~spendy~ and want to look at aesthetically pleasing images (without shopping), plus, it doesn’t have the pressure to interact the way other social networks do. I like looking at quotes the best, followed by style inspiration and recipes. You can follow me here!
Waste time. Sometimes just doing nothing is fun. I like to take a nap, talk to my cats, or watch TikToks – haha!
How do you like to pass the time and stay away from retail therapy?