I’m really excited to introduce Courtney Young to you all from SHE: Self, Health, Environment. She’s got some beautiful tips for slowing down & getting back to nature…..
There’s a reason why so many of us strive to adjust our lifestyles to minimise our impact on the environment- it’s because we’re left with that warm, glowing feeling knowing that we’re doing our part. We love that we’re giving back to Mother Nature, to the environment that so relentlessly provides for us. However, sometimes it’s difficult to stay motivated and make these changes. Sometimes it’s exhausting to chase after that warm, glowing feeling. Sometimes we want to be a little selfish and take a break. That’s where I step in. The following are three steps I’ve devised for the selfish environmentalist. These are environmentally sustainable actions we can all take that will nourish our souls, and lifestyles in general, at the same time.
Ok, so simplifying our lifestyles is not exactly a one step process. It takes a lot of time. It’s about establishing what’s important and eliminating what’s not. Simplicity is about creating space for peace and spending time doing what we deem to be valuable and with people we love.
For example, my idea of simplicity is where I have enough time in the day to spend time with friends and family, cook food, tend to a veggie garden, create, exercise and write. With simplicity, I believe there is little room for senseless greed- the catalyst for many environmental issues. I also think simple living generally implies a smaller ecological footprint. For example, simplicity requires less things, smaller homes and less energy.
Ultimately, simplifying our lives makes the heart sing. We will stress, fear and worry less, and breathe, smile and laugh more. But where do we start? My favourite resource for simple living is Zen Habits. We can first try simplifying our belongings and giving them away to charity. We can simplify our diet so that we’re only consuming the most wholesome and unprocessed foods. We can simplify our life goals, exercise regime,weekends, home, and morning routine. There is no element of our lives that wouldn’t benefit from a touch of simplification.
Directly related to simplicity, consuming less requires us to understand what we do and don’t need. It’s about making wise choices concerning quality, longevity and necessity. As National Geographic explain, the consumerist nature of modern society has created and significantly contributed to many environmental issues. The energy required to produce and maintain consumable goods plus the impact these have as waste is massive. Annie Leonard’s ‘The Story of Stuff’ should be enough inspiration to stop us from buying and collecting stuff mindlessly. But, how does consuming less nourish our soul? The most obvious personal benefit is that our bank balance will flourish or we’ll be able to work less! We will have more time and reason to create, which is far more therapeutic and rewarding than consuming. We will feel liberated once we’re not weighed down by our purchases or the things we think we need to have. And finally, we will develop a greater understanding of happiness when we begin focusing on experiences and moments rather than things.
Breathe. This fast paced world we live in is moving too fast for the environment to keep up. In fact, individually, we are all moving too fast, rushing from one task to the next with out a moment of stillness. Instead, we need to take things slowly, and approach the tasks of life mindfully, carefully and with meaning. Environmentally, it means not jumping on the destructive fast food wagon, or supporting single use products. It means investing our money in homemade and hand made necessities, rather than mass produced goods. It means choosing the timeless over the trendy, cooking a meal from scratch or knitting a scarf. It means eating by the seasons, growing your own food and treading lightly. It’s about mindfulness over mindlessness, and relaxing instead of rushing. Slow magazine, a favourite of mine, quotes Winnie the Pooh on their website which sums it all up, ‘Rivers know this; there is no hurry.’ So, make like Mother Nature and take your time.
Learn more about Courtney over at SHE: Self, Health, Environment.
Love Amanda x