Fani Mari is a freelance beauty journalist and content creator originally from Athens, but has made her home in London. After several years working full time as a journalist and editor she recently broke out and went freelance giving her the creative freedom she craved. She has a wealth of experience in the wellness and beauty sectors, which is why we are so happy she agreed to talk to us.
What 3 things do you live for?
Sleep, love, sun
Tell us a bit about yourself?
Born and raised in Athens, Greece I came to London to study and stayed! I’ve always had an interest in self-care and mental health even though I didn’t know how to discuss them and include them in my daily life back then. I’m glad there’s a greater focus on wellness in the past few years as I truly believe self-care is healthy and essential. Summer is my season and when I feel better inside and out, even though I was born in winter. I pet every dog I see on the street; their owners definitely think I’m a bit crazy. I love spending time with friends but have realised I’m also a bit of an introvert and recharge at home. I love spend time on my own, reading, working out, watching Netflix and baking.
What do you do for a living?
My main job for the past year is a freelance journalist, I mostly write about beauty, lifestyle, wellness and sustainability. I also create a lot of content for my Instagram (@fani_breakeven) and my blog (BREAKEVEN), which I’d like to make bigger and better in the future.
I was full time journalist/editor at a company before that, which is where I learnt the importance of self-respect and confidence in your own work. Even if you are great at what you do, if you don’t show up like you own the room, you lose many things that should be yours. A big lesson has also been ‘if you don’t ask you don’t get’ which is true for everyday life as well as work; be it a promotion, a change in something, a sponsorship – anything really, you need to stand up and ask for it! No one will give you things just because you deserve them.
Overall, I believe things happen for a reason. The obstacles everyone faces along the way shouldn’t be taken as a negative – things that are meant for you, will come to you. Despite this I’m not always super positive and when I face rejection in my work, it’s a bit hard for me to overcome it. It’s a work in progress I guess!
What rules do you live by?
Being self-employed and working in ways I never did before, has pushed my creativity and thinking. I have to sell myself and my ideas every single day. It’s hard and I don’t think I’m a natural at it yet, but I really enjoy the freedom – creatively and in terms of schedule too. This goes hand-in-hand with my mental health, as I’ve come to realise, a 9-5 job doesn’t suit my personality and mentality. I might work late at night one day, or through the weekend, or work while travelling, which isn’t mirrored in ‘normal’ full-time careers – I hope this changes over time. So mentally, physically and spiritually, I was always drained in a full-time office job. I’m still looking for the right balance now, but it’s so important to be able to take a break and work on your mental health when it’s needed.
I’ve always been interested in sustainability and being somewhat eco-conscious as I remember my dad recycling way before it was trendy. Through my work, I am able to focus more on sustainable techniques, fabrics, companies and more. It’s a learning curve and I’m in no way perfect but I think we can always think twice before purchasing something instead of grabbing the latest SALE item at Zara just because it’s cheap. I highly recommend watching “The True Cost” and if you want to take it a step further, read “Fashionopolis” a book by journalist and author Dana Thomas.
How do you practise self-care?
The most important thing for me is sleep! I don’t operate well when I don’t sleep well or enough, I know I’m grumpy, can’t concentrate and will likely make mistakes. So, sleeping enough is the first thing I focus on, especially when I’m busy, to ensure I can tackle everything. Then when I can and have the time I’ll add some practices in the mix – schedule permitting. But there has to be something relaxing every day; that can mean different things for everyone, for me it’s as simple as doing my night-time routine, a little facial massage with my Gua Sha, taking a bath, watching a series or even just lying in bed.
How do you take care of your mental/ emotional health?
Some of the mental practices I do; I’ve been in therapy for a couple of years and it’s helped me immensely. I honestly think everyone can benefit from therapy; it doesn’t mean you have “issues” if you do. Meditation really relaxes me, but I wish I did it more often. I once did an experiment where I meditated daily for one month and it helped a lot mentally, but some days it felt like a chore, which is something I don’t want. So now I meditate a few days a week, usually before bed. These practices relax my mind and body and almost put me in sync. It’s also important to connect with nature, even if that means walking on the grass barefoot for 2 minutes. Harder to do in winter, which is probably why I prefer the summer overall!
How do you take care of your physical health?
In terms of physical practices; I love exercising, usually a mix of HIIT and weights and occasionally classes too. Instant mood booster! It’s almost like meditating for me and makes me happier even on the days I’m feeling low.
Do you practice any spiritual methods?
I’ve got some crystals next to my bed and do sound baths when I get the opportunity. I’m open to discovering more practices and have really enjoyed things like reiki and crystal healing in the past.
What are your wellness practices?
Baths are so, so important for me – a bathtub was a “must-have” when searching for a flat. But I don’t have them as often as I’d like because when I take a bath it’s a long process; hair mask, face mask, candles, TV series or book, wine - so my baths take 2 hours minimum! I’ve recently introduced my boyfriend to the joys of a bath and he’s obsessed! Due to exercising and general life, I love a deep tissue massage. I’ve tried acupuncture a couple of times and it has helped loads with sore muscles and painful tendons. I wish I could get these treatments more often but a relaxing bath (with bath oils and salts) does the trick in the meantime.
Describe your skincare/beauty practices?
My routine is way too long and complicated but that’s only because I enjoy it! I can make it quicker when needed but I will always take off makeup and wash my face properly even if its 5 am and ALWAYS wear sunscreen, every day, all year long. Taking 10 minutes especially at night to do my skincare routine is a moment for myself, a moment of calm. I mask for the same reason, though not as often. In reality, masks aren’t necessary, but they are nice to use for me. I sometimes get facials as part of my job, which is a huge perk, but I don’t really go that often. As for nails, I love colourful nails and nail art. During quarantine I got myself a gel kit and have tried to do some nail art – it’s hard!
Do you use any supplements or any other therapies?
I take probiotics daily and try to remember my multi-vits, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. I’d say vitamin D and probiotics are the must-have ones for me.
How do you manage stresses?
Not very well if I’m honest! What I do however that helps if I’m feeling overwhelmed is make a list; include the issue or anything that’s on my mind at that time. I make lists about so many different things and they help me to work through things. I also enjoy the guided meditation practices on the Calm app, there are some shorter ones that help. Finally, the easiest and least expensive thing of all – managing my breath. We tend not to breathe deeply most of the time and when feeling stressed it’s an instant way to calm ourselves down. Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4, exhale for 4. Doing this a couple of times helps a lot.
Describe your ultimate self-care ritual?
It would start with a nice yoga practice (but not too strenuous), as well as some sort of a breathing exercise and then a nice long bath, a fun film and a glass of wine.