Can being environmentally friendly improve your mental wellbeing?
Earlier this week, we celebrated Earth Day by staying at home…the same as everyday for the past month or so. You may have seen some of the wonderful natural bounce-backs since the global lockdown, and if that doesn’t show you that we are our own demise, then I don’t know what will.
When I was little, I loved learning about nature and I very nearly went into zoology (until I realised there are very few jobs in that field). I even went through a hippie phase in my late teens (yes, with flowery headbands and everything), and whilst my style has mellowed out since then (into a mostly black wardrobe), I still uphold the values of being kind to the Earth.
Here are a few of the environmentally-friendly changes I’ve made over the years:
Bamboo is the New Plastic
Swapping out throwaway plastic toiletries with bamboo alternatives. This has been brilliant for not only reducing the plastic I’m throwing away (plastic toothbrushes, disposable razors, etc.) but also for generally cutting back on my waste. Currently, I use a bamboo toothbrush, bamboo hairbrush and a (you guessed it) bamboo safety razor.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat…
Now, I use shampoo and conditioner bars instead of bulky bottles. It took some time to get into shampoo bars, after reading articles on how it can change the way your hair feels. Personally, I have found nothing but joy with my shampoo bars. You can find many, many, many recipes to make your own (which could be a fun activity during lockdown) or, you can buy them from ethical stores like Lush (where I get mine from).
Re-Thinking My Wardrobe
When I first started uni in 2016 (four years ago! what the fuck), I loved retail therapy, especially collecting an array of graphic tees (such a stereotypical student). Stores like Primark and Forever21 were perfect places for these tops and for a while, I enjoyed being ‘trendy’. After a while though, the novelty wore off and not only was I left with t-shirt’s that didn’t represent my uniqueness, but I also realised that I was forcing my body into them, rather than have them work for me. Now, I follow a rough capsule wardrobe. Since adopting minimalism in 2018, I have reduced the excess in my wardrobe and I now have a simplistic wardrobe made of good-quality clothes that will last me for years.
This is just a snapshot of what I do to try and help the planet. Over on my Instagram this week, I asked people what they do to combat climate change and I had some brilliant responses such as: taking public transport, planting bee-friendly plants and recycling. There are so many ways to be eco-friendly, and I could easily write a series of posts about it.
But my question at the beginning of this post was: Can being environmentally-friendly improve your mental wellbeing?
In my experience…absolutely! What isn’t wonderful about knowing that despite all the shit in the world, you are doing your bit! You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t need to go strictly vegan and ride around on a bicycle wearing a floral dress you found in a charity shop (although that does sound pretty wholesome).
You can start today by being mindful of your household consumption and by remembering to check the labels for the recycling logo.
Stay safe, stay green and I will see you next time!
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Featured Image Credit 📷: Karsten Würth