Saturday, 21 January 2017

REFLECTIONS OF A SOCIAL MEDIA-FREE WEEK


the past few weeks i've been feeling kinda icky, and while my mental state often fluctuates, this time i wanted to try and do something to actively improve it. my attempted solution? to swear off social media for the length of last week. a seven-day social media 'cleanse', if you will.

now i understand how this could seem like a strange fix to my latest mental health crisis, so i guess maybe a little back story may be helpful... the real issue that brought upon this desire to get off social media, and maybe partially explained my icky-ness, was how absent i was feeling. i came to realise that i was rarely completely present in moments, and this was causing a lot of my anxiety and negative feelings/thoughts. i think a lot of us tend to use social media as a distraction - a distraction from reality and from our inner self. while sometimes a distraction can be necessary and beneficial, on the other hand, using social media can often distract us from getting in touch with and exploring deeper within ourselves. for me, and i'm sure others, social media also often acts as a tool to encourage procrastination. i regularly find it difficult to focus on one task at a time - for example, whilst writing this blog post a few times i've mindlessly clicked between different social media websites and checked my phone, without even really consciously thinking about doing it. for many, social media has brought up this habit of feeling the need to constantly be 'in the loop' and updated.

while this desire or 'challenge' to get off social media for a while was predominately to see if it would affect my headspace in a positive way, i also wanted to try and use this time to create better habits in my life in general. one aspect i wanted to change was the way in which i started my day. for a very long period of time, my morning routine was to wake up, roll over, and proceed to check every form of social media app, before i had really even taken a proper breath or fully opened my eyes. no wonder i was feeling disconnected and absent - i started every day immediately with external stimuli, when i really needed to tap into and deal with the internal stuff to set my day up for feeling good.


so my mission for the week was : no use of social media (excluding facebook messenger to make plans and youtube to watch educational videos only), to meditate every morning as soon as i woke up then follow that with yoga, and to educate myself instead of distract myself through the media i was consuming.


and what happened when i got off social media for a week? the world didn't end, i didn't suddenly become the equivalent of a monk living on a mountain, and i didn't miss out on anything groundbreaking. 


what DID happen was...


i created a daily morning routine that actually set me up for a good day. every morning i meditated, starting with 5 minutes and worked my way up to 15 minutes, followed by a yoga video from yogawithadriene's revolution 31 days of yoga, and then i ate a nutritious breakfast outside in the sun. just a simple routine like that made me feel so positive most mornings, and inspired me to be productive for the rest of the day.

i connected more with my inner self. i think this was partially also to do with reading the book light is the new black at the start of my social media free week. throughout the week i really began to notice i was becoming more connected with my inner self. for me that meant really checking in and listening to my true inner thoughts and trusting my intuition or instincts. i thought much deeper into things than i had in a while, which i think, hopefully, will lead to positive changes in my life. i also started paying much more attention to the way in which things were impacting my energy, which is such an important skill to have.
i became more present. as mentioned earlier, this was one of the main goals i hoped to achieve throughout the week. i found that not constantly scrolling through photos or having the urge to check my phone meant that i did feel much more present in moments. take away that distraction and you're left far more emerged in reality.
i learnt how to be bored and what to do with that feeling. when you have social media, the second you potentially might feel bored, a swipe on your phone and you have a whole world of entertainment at your fingers. i think this reliance has led to a lot of us not truly experiencing the feeling of boredom ever anymore. without this option of entertainment, i had to sit with myself when i felt bored and consciously come up with something that didn't include vegging out on my phone. for me that was most often picking up a book, doing yoga or going outside, which were all far more positive options for my wellbeing and happiness.
i read more books than i had in weeks. i finished a new book (previously mentioned light is the new black - which is soo good btw) in two days, which a few years ago would've been normal, but could now be considered a record in recent years. i also got a fair way through another book as well. unfortunately reading has been something i've neglected quite a bit over the past few years, even though its something i've always deeply loved, so getting back into that (even if only out of boredom) was a super nice thing for me.
i started to crave educating myself. throughout the week watched countless ted talks and documentaries. again, mostly initially due to boredom, i began to seek out 'real media' to consume, and consequently, fell back in love with learning. having finished with school last year, my education is now completely in my own hands, and this social media free week really instilled in me how important and enjoyable learning can be.
i spent more time with my family. instead of eating lunch by myself or going straight into my room after dinner, i watched documentaries with them. not only was this a positive form of media and learning for both me and my family, but it was also nice to just be with them and not isolate myself to the digital world.
i connected with people more. or, at least, i really tried to make the effort to. instead of not fully being in conversations, as we all can sometimes be, i consciously tried to truly listen to people and what they were saying. i think in a lot of situations the quote "people don't listen, they just wait for their turn to talk" can ring true. being hooked in social media and the constant fast-pace social updates, i know i find that i'm often not fully present in conversations, which i'm sure can lead to feelings of disconnectedness.
i did things i love. as well as getting back into reading and yoga, i updated my blog, which you may have noticed, and decided to really start using this outlet more. i enjoyed making visual creative changes to this blog and writing/creating my last few posts so so much. my social media free week really helped me get in touch with what i love and want to do. 
my self esteem improved. i wouldn't say that i'm the type of person that often compares myself physically to others, but i think when we scroll through so many 'perfected' moments and photos, it must subconsciously affect us and our opinion of ourselves in comparison to others. i'm sure i wasn't imagining that not looking at images of unrealistic appearances made me feel better about myself.

thats a lot of good stuff starting to happen in just a week hey. and while this post has been on the topic of getting off social media, i think some of the positive change has to be attributed to more just the time i took and effort i put into the other things and developing those positive changes. just deleting your social media apps alone isn't going to produce huge positive results, but it can sure help.


as i write this post a few days after my social media-free week, i'm not going to lie and pretend i haven't often become stuck back in my mindless clicking between apps. i have, however, become far more mindful at realising when that mindless clicking instinct is occurring, and trying to limit it and choose something productive to do instead. as soon as i downloaded the apps back, i also went through instagram and unfollowed hundreds and hundreds of accounts. this means that my feed is now far smaller, and of content that is inspiring and motivating. i'm still reading and i've managed to keep my morning yoga routine every day, and meditation when waking up most days. i'm also doing a much better job at focusing on one thing at a time - i've almost finished writing this blog post with far less clicks to social media apps than would have occurred before, so heck yeah for that!


so while this week-long cleanse didn't necessarily result in me forever swearing off social media, i did begin to learn how to better use those apps and my time, as well as getting more in touch with my inner self. honestly, i think i might have a repeat of this week very soon - i'm sick of social media again already and am not done with this learning and bettering of myself.


i hope this post maybe inspires you to have a think about the way you are currently using social media and if that is acting in a positive or negative way towards your mindset and life. i really encourage taking a break and switching off for a while. i promise your social life will still continue and you won't become completely disconnected from the world (you probably won't miss scrolling through all those bikini photos either). i don't think social media is an inherently awful thing, it all comes down to how you use it. use it to build yourself up, learn, and make meaningful connections, don't use it to distract and numb yourself.



A xx


instagram // tumblr // email: araina.tasmin@hotmail.com




Sunday, 15 January 2017

PINK MATTER


{ sportsgirl skirt, top & choker, dr martens boots, meteorite necklace from my boy }


you haven't seen a post of this style from me in quite a while hey! what can i say, i had a strange craving to take and edit outfit photos. in the past i've thought of my love for clothing as shallow, but fashion is an art form and i really dig it at times. does that mean you can maybe expect more posts like this? i'm not entirely sure, but it's probably likely.

i've really been enjoying exploring my style as of lately. i mean, a few months ago i wouldn't be caught dead wearing a skirt or dress *gasp* below the knee, but now its all i want to wear. a lot of my growth in terms of style definitely occurred when i moved schools two years ago. i remember back to such a dumb phase in my early teen years, when i'd be terrified to even wear a dress on a 'free-dress day' at school, for fear of standing out in the sea of jeans. this phase of thoughts really trapped me for a long time, and its completely liberating to now be able to wear pretty much whatever the heck i want, without any feelings of fear or potential judgement. hell yeah to freedom in the form of long skirts and pink everything.

i have to run - its sunday night, which means time to water my growing jungle of plants, before i head off to my boyfriend's house for a vegetarian indian feast (um, yum).

A xx

instagram // tumblr // email: araina.tasmin@hotmail.com

Friday, 13 January 2017

SIX MUST-WATCH DOCUMENTARIES


hi i'm araina and i'm obsessed with documentaries. 

documentaries have helped, and continue to help, shape some of my core beliefs and passions. i don't think there is anything more powerful than having the ability to constantly educate yourself. documentaries are such a simple and interesting way to learn about a huge multitude of issues and subjects.

below are just a few documentaries that i personally believe to be of utmost importance and/or interest.


i stumbled across this documentary on netflix the other day and knew i had to watch it. i had skimmed articles and watched a youtube video or two on the idea of minimalism, but nothing had really fully grabbed my attention or interest. this documentary however, had me sitting in my seat hugely questioning the part of my life and "identity" to do with material possessions. the documentary explores the "trend" of minimalism in a highly thought-provoking, captivating and powerful way.

while this documentary didn't cause me to instantly sign my life over to complete minimalism, and maybe i won't ever do that, it did motivate me to go through my wardrobe and remove 3 bags of unwanted clothing, as well as get rid of old skincare/beauty products, both of which i was meaninglessly holding onto and allowing to clutter my life.

here is the trailer for the documentary. you can find the full version on netflix. this is also a really good ted talk by the same guys who made and feature in the documentary.


if you haven't yet seen or heard of cowspiracy (do you exist??), this documentary explores the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. along with exploring these effects, the documentary also investigates how environmental organisations are responding to this issue.

cowspiracy is such an important and powerful look into how our food choices are affecting the planet, and for many it has acted as a necessary push towards a plant-based diet. we can't anymore keep making our daily decisions without considering the impact on the environment. there ain't no second planet once we destroy this one dudes.

here is the trailer for this documentary, watch the full version on netflix.


reason number one to watch before the flood: leonardo dicaprio. reason number two to watch before the flood: climate change is going to be the biggest issue our generation faces. (i may have potentially got the order of those reasons muddled up, but i'm not entirely convinced). seriously though, climate change is freakin' terrifying. it will impact so many aspects of the planet and our lives, and there is now no arguing against the science.

here is the trailer for this documentary, the full version is available to rent or buy online, or from potentially semi-dodgy websites.


the true cost is a documentary that explores the impact of fashion and our clothing choices on people and the planet, specifically focusing on 'fast fashion'. through the different aspects of the clothing industry explored, the documentary forces us to consider who pays the price for our fashion choices in reality.

i watched this documentary the other day and, god damn did it make me feel upset, overwhelmed and hopeless. while it definitely is a bleak issue, and will take a multifaceted approach to improving it, positive change can begin with the consumer, so education is of utmost importance. hopefully after watching this it will make you rethink the origin of your clothing and that $3 t-shirt.

here is the trailer for this documentary, the full version is available on netflix.


"the best speech you will ever hear" is certainly a heavy claim to make for an hour long youtube video, but somehow gary yourofsky's speech on veganism pretty much lives up to that title (well, it did for me at least when i watched it 3 years ago and instantly decided to convert to veganism). this speech is one of the most comprehensive and honest talks on veganism. i think what makes it so successful is that, while only being around an hour long, this video covers almost every element of adapting to a vegan lifestyle and the reasons behind that choice.

this may not necessarily be the best or most flashy vegan documentary now available, but it was singlehandedly the video that completely opened my eyes to this issue. some other documentaries on the topic of veganism include: food choices, 101 reasons to go vegan, forks over knives, earthlings (very graphic, i only lasted a few minutes), vegucated and food inc.

here is the link to the full youtube version of gary yourofsky's "best speech you will ever hear".


honestly i put off watching blackfish for a long, long time. i have a deep connection with and love for the ocean and whales in particular. they're one of the most mesmerising and incredible species and just the thought of humans' actions towards them makes me feel utterly sick and devastated.

especially with the recent update of this story, this documentary is pretty darn upsetting. i urge you to watch it anyway and don't freaking support seaworld and other sea parks.

here is the trailer for blackfish - the full version is available on netflix.


i strongly encourage you to watch all of these documentaries. expand your mind, educate yourself on the issues of the planet, find what you can do to help.


A xx

instagram // tumblr // email: araina.tasmin@hotmail.com






what are your must-watch documentaries or videos that have changed your life? please leave them in the comments below!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

NIPPLES, FLOWERS & THE WORLD ENDING


in the past couple of weeks, i haven't worn a bra in public on 6 different days, which is a total of 6 more days than in the last maybe 5 or 6 years. and guess what... despite what i perhaps thought may happen, i am still alive to tell that story. the lesson i have learnt is that the world will not end if someone sees my nipples. i know that this personal celebration for something that appears to be not that big a deal may seem silly and insignificant, but gosh darn i'm going to celebrate and talk about it anyway.

with the growing "free the nipple" trend in recent years, for the past few months i've become increasingly interested in trialling ditching a bra for a day. too scared to do this completely on my own volition, one day at school a few weeks ago a backless jumper i wore called for one of those gross sticky bras, which then quickly became unstuck. i briefly panicked, then literally said "fuck it" and freed those nips. as dumb as it maybe sounds, i instantly felt liberated. that feeling continued throughout the whole day. based on that feeling and how much more fricken comfortable not wearing a bra is, by this time my own volition, i have continued to repeat this action on multiple occasions.

i think sometimes the "free the nipple" trend can be seen as women trying to make a statement. and while, if that's the reason you want to do it and absolutely go right ahead, it wasn't for me. the few times so far i have gone braless in public have had nothing to do with making a statement, they have simply been due to the fact that personally i generally find bras super uncomfortable to wear. lets face it, most of the time wearing a bra is pretty uncomfortable, and with my limited boobs, for me they are also pretty unnecessary.

i wasn't gifted in the boob department in the way of size, and this has always been a huge insecurity for me. growing up with the bombardment of media and often sexualised images of women, from the moment i developed breasts, i was convinced that bigger was better. bigger was sexier and what the males i would develop crushes on would desire. this completely toxic (and false) mindset resulted in me hating my boobs from day one. i have never been one for massive push-up bras or anything, but i would not be caught dead without a bra at least semi-padded, even in my own home for a long time. it has only been within the last few months that i've grown to not hate my boobs. though i'd love to say that this was completely due to my own self, the majority of it was a result of boob love and support from my wonderful understanding boy. nevertheless, i can now totally say i love my little ones. not wearing a bra is also me learning to further love them in their natural state.

i think bras and the bra industry have completely warped our views surrounding what breasts are "supposed" to look like. when it comes to boobs, and bodies in general, there is no perfect or normal. yeah, without a bra, boobs usually tend to maybe hang slightly lower or be less even or round than they would in comparison to wearing a bra, but there is nothing "wrong" or gross or weird about this. from the beginning of time, breasts have been considered beautiful, based on their natural state and appearance. its only in recent decades that wearing a bra has given boobs the now "desired look". 

there is also the issue of female nipples being completely sexualised. if you weren't already aware, i have some news for you; males have nipples too. isn't it funny how we all have nipples, but one gender's are inherently sexualised. i completely understand that cultures and society has led us to view women's bodies as more physically attractive and sexual by nature, but i just find it kind of strange that no one ever complains about perhaps seeing a male nipple, but seeing a female nipple is usually inappropriate, uncommon or "unnatural". dude, nipples are cute as. i think that shit should be an accessory.

i'm not in the position of swearing off bras completely or anything, but if there's a top or dress that doesn't absolutely need a bra, chances are i probably might not wear one anymore.

so, free the nipple, or don't, i promise the world will not end either way.


A xx

instagram // tumblr // email: araina.tasmin@hotmail.com