A Sustainable Life With Danielle Copperman
In this editorial we interview Danielle Copperman, model and wellness, travel and sustainability writer. Currently living in the French countryside, Danielle shares with us how she navigates her daily life in a sustainable way with consideration to people and the planet. We cover everything from clean beauty to slow living.
Where is home for you at this time?
With my boyfriend and our dog in the French countryside of Jura. We are staying in my boyfriend’s family home, surrounded by mountains and lakes and not a lot else. We are totally isolated.
How have your daily habits changed? Have you found you are moving at a slower pace and if so, are you enjoying it?
Sort of, but only in the sense that I have more time to do some of the daily rituals I didn’t used to make time for. I am going at a slower pace, for sure, as work has slowed right down and we are not needing to travel. Working from home and having slightly less on my to do list means I can use my mornings more to workouts or do yoga, and finish earlier in the afternoons to spend time with my boyfriend or study french or do something creative like writing, painting, poetry and cooking. There is definitely less pressure, and I think that’s what has finally encouraged people to let go and slow down a bit, not having the guilt to always be doing more.
What drives you to live a sustainable life?
All kinds of things, but mostly of course the state of the Earth and the environment; nature and wildlife; human wellbeing. I am most conscious about the way we pollute the oceans and the air, how we draw from the Earth’s natural resources unsustainably, and how we are making this place a dangerous place for life to survive. What drives me most is my passion to reduce waste, reduce pollution and reduce the amount of natural resources we are draining as well as synthetic and artificial resources which damage the Earth in different ways. I am driven by wanting to make the world cleaner and healthier, to heal the Earth so that all living beings can thrive and be well. For me it is not just about the state of the environment, but also the way things are made. For example, fashion garments, make up, food, etc.. We are consuming such poor quality commodities in the name of ease, convenience and affordability and I wish to make the wellbeing of all living things, as well as the environment, much happier and healthier as simply and accessibly as possible.
How are you beginning the mornings to start the day off right at this time?
We have stopped setting alarms and finally succeeded in sleeping with our phones outside of the bedroom, so our alarm clock is our dog, who wakes us up most mornings around 7 or 8am. On a good day, we start with a coffee together followed by a 10-15 minute stretch and then a workout, either together or independently. We both work as models and also own our own businesses, so our routine has not changed much. We’re no longer working on shoots of course, but we are working from home as usual, so we get straight to work most days after coffee, working out or breakfast – it depends how busy we are! I really try to workout in the morning as I feel most energised, positive and productive. Sometimes I also journal in the morning before getting out of bed. But for me movement is a non-negotiable.
What’s your daily beauty routine?
Right now I’m enjoying not wearing make up almost at all. As a model, I’m used to this as you attend castings without make up usually and go to work without make up ready for whatever looks the hair and make up artists create. So usually working from home I don’t wear make up either, but if I do it’s just a little mineral powder or tinted cream, followed by some counter and highlighter, curled lashes and maybe an eyebrow brush if I need an extra lift. Makeup or no makeup, I start the day by cleansing my face, and if I need it I do some gentle massage with a jade roller or gua sha. I always moisturise and if it’s sunny or if I’m going to be outside a lot, I apply product with some SPF. I am big on diet being the key factor in beauty, so always eat clean, natural mostly plant-based and always unprocessed foods. I drink lots of water and keep hydrated, and also take supplements like fish oils (or vegan oils), and collagen powder in my smoothies some times. In the evenings, I cleanse and moisturise or apply a natural oil before sleep.
What has your wardrobe consisted of whilst isolating at home?
I kind of wish you hadn’t asked that as it has mostly been sportswear and sweatpants, but now I am back with my boyfriend after being quarantined in different countries for 4 weeks, I make a bit more of an effort sometimes. Mostly I’m in jeans and large jumpers, or if it’s sunny denim shorts, a mini skirt or a dress with an oversized jumper on top. I wear jewellery whatever the weather, always earrings and the same gold bracelets and necklaces. But right now for me I’m prioritising comfort over anything else! I do think it is important to get dressed properly when working from home though, as it really changes your mood and mindset. It makes me feel a little more legit and professional.
How do you inform yourself throughout the day? What are you listening to, watching, reading?
Since my routine hasn’t changed too much and I am working from home everyday, I actually haven’t enjoyed as much reading or watching as I’d have liked. I am reading Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney after finishing Normal People a few months ago, and also have a few other books on the go including Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert (for the 2nd time). Becoming by Michelle Obama and a few others lined up for when I’m done. I’ve been watching a few old movies I love as well as some classics I’ve never gotten around to seeing, so that’s been nice. Super sad that whilst in France I am missing out on Normal People and Killing Eve on BBC and ITV! Listening is something I’ve been doing without fail. I constantly have Spotify on playing a quarantine season playlist I created, as well as chilled jazz and reggae classics playlists – depending on the mood. In the evenings we cook to our favourite playlists or daily mixes curated by Spotify which are always a perfect selection of our most played songs and similar artists. I’ve also began listening to a few podcasts whilst cleaning, whilst painting or whilst walking or running. Goop, To Be Magnetic and Oprah Winfrey are some of my all time favourites.
Do you have any personal life hacks for getting through the day in the most sustainable way possible?
Since I’m not going out much, my keep cup is getting a bit dusty, but I keep my reusable glass and bamboo water bottled with me all day – it helps me remember to keep drinking water throughout the day. My boyfriend’s bottle is made from ocean plastics too; they are always beside us. We are making all of our meals from home and by hand, and don’t get take away as there aren’t really many options here! We only drive when we need groceries or to go to the post office for work, and we always combine everything into one trip. We shop locally, and seasonally, buying from the local farm or from the organic shop a short drive away. It is like Wholefood’s but better. Everything is from local produce from local producers, and the fresh fruit and veg is pretty much totally seasonal. Most products are organic, and there is all kinds of gluten free, vegan and plant-based alternatives. It’s such a gem for us! We also recycle of course, and reuse anything we can. We are not shopping or buying anything new, only books occasionally, so we have become slower consumers which we have always been mindful of.
What are life’s small pleasures for you right now?
This is something my boyfriend and I have been discussing so much recently. We both value the simple life so much and were dying to get out of London to live a slower paced life. Right now we are so content here in the countryside, enjoying small pleasures like waking up naturally with the sun, enjoying coffee together in the morning before getting to work, taking walks with the dog, the surrounding nature, local farm produce and really good quality home cooked foods, a glass of wine or a simple cocktail in the back garden with our favourite playlists or a book, as the sun goes down. We are enjoying the simple pleasures and small moments so much. My goal in life with my career in wellness is to inspire and encourage people to live a more simplified life – with less belongings and less stress. So I am working on a lot of content to inspire this now, whilst many people are at home, forced to reconsider life and their habits a little.
Do you have any health or wellness tips that you are following?
So many, I literally live and breathe all things wellness. Right now, like I said above, I am simplifying everything. Most of our belongings are in storage at my boyfriend’s parents house, so we just have the bare essentials with us which is so freeing. Health and wellness wise, I am drinking lots of water, having fresh, hand-ground coffee in the mornings, taking 5HTP supplements to enhance my mood on low days, taking a few other supplements (from the organic pharmacy, pukka herbs and naturacan) to keep immunity up, and eating only natural, fresh food as much as possible. I must admit I am drinking alcohol much more than I usually would, but I am balancing this with lots of water and hydrating foods, fresh air, daily walks, daily exercise (I am loving all the live classes on Instagram – particularly Megan Roup, Pvolve, Rumble, Jab, Heartcore, Barrecore and Yogahome) and plenty of rest. We are sleeping around 10pm or 11pm and waking early. I think routine is key. I have also introduced Collagen powder by Cosmic Molecule to my smoothie routine, which helps boost my skin as it gets quite dry and lifeless being inside all day.
What has been your favourite thing to cook / eat that you would say is sustainably minded?
Pretty much everything we are cooking right now is sustainable as it is mostly super local and seasonal, but anything vegan is most sustainable in my mind. I made a vegan banoffee pie the other day which was amazing, and we always make vegan curries (although we use coconut milk so not sure how sustainable that is?!). Anything like a big salad with local seasonal ingredients which we make a few times a week for lunch, I guess is the most sustainable. And just generally making everything from scratch, our smoothies, dressings, sauces etc. I am intolerant to garlic and onion so I am used to making most of my food entirely from scratch anyway.
How are you winding down at the end of the day?
Trying not to work too late, a bit too much wine (!?), watching something or reading, and tonight I’m going to have my first bath of the quarantine – probably with some wine, a book and a candle just to set some extra atmosphere. It is hard to wind down especially if you’re working from home, I’ve been trying to find the work life balance for almost 10 years. But I’d say it’s just about being conscious to not over-work, to set limits and goals, not to try to do everything at once, and to spend time with those you live with, undivided attention and doing something you don’t usually have time for. Now the weather is warmer we try to finish work around 4 or 5pm and then lie in the garden with a drink and book, or doing some research on our side projects or hobbies. I’m also learning French and that helps to switch off my anxious / stressed work-mind, and spark a little creativity and focus, to calm the mind after a busy day.
What does sustainability mean to you in these unprecedented times?
For me I am actually really interested to see how the changes in human behaviour will positively impact the environment. We have already seen major changes, some good, some less good. For example, less air pollution from factories etc, and aircrafts and other travel. However, more sea pollution due to more consumption in the homes and more waste. Right now I think we have the chance to live very simply – eating out less, traveling less, buying less, so sustainability during this time is something I feel is finally going to get some attention, whether people are making conscious lifestyle changes or forced ones. I am being as conscious as I usually am – I don’t think there is more need to focus on sustainability now than before, I think it is always important and during this time hopefully just a bit easier for people to act more mindfully. In general, wasting less, buying less calories traveling less or as eco friendly as possible, and reusing and recycling as much as possible are key, always, not just now. I do think I will be able to keep more simple habits, now that I know the adjustment to a simpler life is actually not that difficult, and doesn’t necessarily mean living with less. I am excited to see how this pandemic changes the way people consume or behave, if they begin to go out less and buy less non-essential items. I think it is a positive time for sustainability actually.
Finally, what are three changes you would like to take from this time to move forward with in a more sustainable way?
Slow down, buy less, keep in touch with friends more even if we don’t meet up. It’s so easy and I don’t know why we didn’t do it more before! It saves time and money and is almost more authentic and wholesome conversation.
Find Danielle on Instagram here. She is running an IGTV quarantine series with wellness contributors sharing classes in fitness, mindfulness, art and cooking etc.
Image credit Hedi Sersoub @hedisersoub
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