by Lucie Huang
Spring is finally here, and spending more time outside is likely inspiring us all to be more conscious about making more planet-friendly choices.
April 22nd marked our annual Earth Day, a day when we especially reflect on how we can better protect and cherish our planet. But our care for the planet shouldn’t and can’t stop here. Even amid the stress of everyday life, there are ways that we can balance taking care of our planet with taking care of ourselves on a regular basis.
A healthy, positive mindset can be a gamechanger for boosting mental health, elevating productivity, and setting you up for a successful and sustainable month. Here are some simple tips and ideas for supporting your wellbeing and the planet in harmony:
#1. Set Some Goals
Implementing smart goals can start with little habits each day and gradually grow, creating a greener, more sustainable lifestyle that is also easy to tackle. Setting smart goals can help you focus your mind on smaller tasks, which can reduce worry and help you focus. Goals are also great for organizing and managing your progress, making sure you are on a track to success.
Remember: nothing is too big or too small to make into a daily, planet-friendly habit. Housekeeping tips like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or unplugging unused electronics can surprisingly save up plenty of energy. When heading out to work or school, try opting for a reusable water bottle and utensils or swapping flimsy plastic bags for a cotton tote at the grocery store. If possible, consider changing out a few lightbulbs to LED ones or choosing to take the subway or bus to work or school for a change.
#2. Take a Break
Spending hours at the office or school can be exhausting, which can detract from the energy that you have left to promote sustainability. A great way to ease this stress is to create timely breaks throughout the day. Studies show that we’re most productive when we take a 15 minute break after (or during) every hour of work that we do. After a period of high concentration, taking your eyes off the screen or page can re-energize your mind and prevent early fatigue. This also helps with procrastination, as you won’t be feeling so stuck in place and you’ll be ready to approach more work with a much fresher mindset.
Especially as the weather warms up, breaks are a great chance to spend some time connecting with nature. Try taking a walk outside, watering a plant or two, or exploring your city or neighbourhood. Switching from driving to biking or walking can offer a break of fresh air that helps rejuvenate your state of mind. And, not only is being active outside a fantastic way to be eco-friendly, research has even proven that the colour green can greatly help one focus, too!
#3. Make Time for Activities
As the months go by, work, school and other commitments can often put us in the midst of heavy stress, making it easy to forget to treat ourselves and take care of our minds and bodies. When this happens, remember to remind yourself to spend ample time with your family and loved ones. Being in a social environment can offer nourishing emotional support, and a good laugh always helps with a stressful day!
Make time for your hobbies, too. The activities that bring you joy should never be pushed aside, and spending even 30 minutes doing your favorite things can bring happiness to your whole day. Some fun and eco-friendly activities include planting vegetables or plants in your backyard, or taking a trip to the local farmer’s market to pick up some locally-grown produce.
Be sure to carve out time to do fun activities with loved ones as well. With such great weather arriving, why not pick a sunny day to plan a picnic or play some sports with family? Host an event or party with friends, and consider using reusable tableware made of ceramics or glass instead of single-use plastic or paperware. It’s not only cost-efficient, but also reduces lots of potential waste. Think about opting for outdoor events as well, an alternative that makes good use of the springtime weather, and saves up on energy. While you’re at it, try encouraging your loved ones to bring homemade food instead of store-bought treats, too!
Long story short, there are so many ways that you can maintain a healthy mindset whilst contributing positively to our planet, even during busy times. Don’t forget that change always starts small, and progress starts slow. We just need to take that first step to begin!
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