One of the reasons that people have been trying to lead a more sustainable life over the years is due to how it can help them become healthier. This can happen with a change in diet where less meat is consumed if not avoided altogether, or in the attempt to spend more time in nature, avoiding the stress of city life, and consequently reducing cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
However, this chase for sustainability can have its downsides. So, the day old question remains this: can sustainability actually cause us harm rather than make us healthier?
The pressure of sustainability
It's common for people to go from thinking of realistic changes to trying to be the best at sustainability. This self-inflicted pressure to be perfect at this, and to feel like you can never make a mistake, is bound to cause stress. If you push yourself over the limit, you risk ending up tired of your changes before they’ve even made the positive impact they’re intended to make.
We understand that when you do only a little, you might feel like you’re not doing enough. This is another common pitfall in everyone’s sustainable journey - it’s hard to accept that you can only do so much by yourself. It’s important to accept this and not lose sleep over your own guilt.
It’s also easy to let anger take over and waste precious time complaining about what other people are doing about sustainability or to worry about those who are ignoring the topic entirely. However, don't let this kill your hope and desire to make changes. Focus on what you can do.
Simple changes you can try out
Now that you’ve learned about the pressure of sustainability, here are some things we recommend you do to both be more sustainable (in small steps) and to also stay healthy while you work on your journey:
Sleep better - The more stressed we feel, the worse we sleep. As such, it’s important that as part of your journey to sustainability, you take time to learn how to improve your sleep. That can be both great for your health and the good of the planet - in this blog here, we discuss how you can best prepare your body and room for a good night’s sleep.
Look after your mind - Allow your mind to take breaks from sustainability every once in a while. In a previous blog, we’ve recommended a simple way you can try out meditation. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can also check out meditation apps like Headspace, which are intended to help you with mindfulness.
If you’re interested in learning more about these topics, we recommend you read Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza (a great read about implementing changes in your life) and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (a fantastic book about self-reflection).
Make changes that fit your lifestyle - There is nothing wrong with taking baby steps, that’s the most sustainable way of making changes in life. Ignore what others are doing, avoid comparing yourself, and don’t let the pressure we mentioned before take over. For example, if you’re trying to go vegetarian, start by eating less meat rather than cutting it off entirely overnight.
Another tip? Stay away from the news. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t learn more about sustainability, but try to keep a positive outlook. Some books that we recommend you read are: A bright future by Joshua S Goldstein and Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming by Paul Hawken.
Get rid of the unnecessary - Overconsumption is another enemy to sustainability. Try to limit your purchases to fewer things but of better quality and durability. Got stuff you don’t need? It’s time to declutter your home and have a garage sale! Giving a new life to things that are just gathering dust in a closet is also part of being sustainable.
Connect with nature - We don't expect you to escape the city to live in the countryside, but it would be a great idea to favor camping trips immersed in nature over long-haul trips abroad. Nature has so much to give, don’t forget to take a moment to admire the beauty that you’re trying to protect.
Explore sustainable hobbies
Living in a sustainable way can actually be FUN! Your passion for nature can be the start of many new hobbies capable of enriching your life. The secret is all in finding the one that you enjoy the most and suddenly you’ll be doing your bit for the planet and have fun at the same time. Here are some things you can try out to reduce waste and help the earth out:
Composting - We all produce piles of waste every day so why not turn these piles into something that can give back to nature? Most plant-based organic materials can be layered together and with the right moisture, could turn into compost in even just 3 months.
Gardening - What better way to connect with nature than to work with it? Whether it’s time to build the vegetable patch of your dreams or to simply keep your garden in perfect shape, this hobby can be highly satisfying. It can also help you save money on vegetables & fruit that you would normally buy in the stores!
Low-waste DIY - You can take control of producing more than just what you eat, the internet is home to millions of recipes you can try out to make your own cleaning products, herbal teas, organic shampoos, and anything else you can think of. The best part about this? You can avoid any toxic chemicals that are often found in these products, as you decide what goes in each one of them & know exactly how everything has been made. It doesn't get any more sustainable than this!
Minimalism - Sometimes the solution is to do less rather than do more. Practicing minimalism could be a great way to wind down and find pleasure in the little things. You can find plenty of books on the topic to get started and the world will surely be grateful for you making the switch to a life where consumerism isn't the focus.
Knitting & Weaving - Fast fashion is guilty of producing a huge amount of waste every day across the world. So what better way to work against it than to start making your own clothes? The act of knitting or weaving can be incredibly relaxing and the best part is that by the end of it, you get a beautiful new thing to wear or to give to someone you love.
Beekeeping - Bees need our help now more than ever, and what better way to give them a hand than by also enjoying some delicious honey out of it? Get in touch with your local beekeeping community and learn all about these fantastic little creatures to get started.
Walking in nature - Here’s a hobby that is completely free and requires just a little time of your day. Whether you commit to walking around your local park every day or to regularly seek out the countryside to reconnect with nature, this hobby combines exercise with appreciating our planet - both are equally important.
Ready to give our tips a go? Our mission is to help you live healthily and make your low-waste journey enjoyable. To do that, we’ve also created bedding that’s both good for you and the environment. Learn more about it today here and discover how it can improve your sleep.