The decision to change our lifestyle is not the easiest one to make. No matter how motivated you might be at the start of your journey there will be moments of doubt and we should be prepared to face these “bad days” in order to stay on track and remain positive. When it comes to zero-waste living, the challenge might seem even greater as we are facing something much bigger than just our own bad habits and willpower.
Trying to reach a truly sustainable lifestyle gets sidetracked because of the economic system we currently all exist in. There are simply too many ‘convenient’ options around us that make the sustainable choice harder and often more expansive.
Facing the entire system can quickly feel too daunting and lead to feelings of powerlessness. So what can we do to manage this 'eco-anxiety' and induce more positive thinking?
We put together some tips that will help you stay committed to the cause:
1. Focus on things that you can control.
There are and will always be multiple aspects in our lives that will stay out of our control, such as for example, other people’s behaviour. One thing that we can control however is our own actions, so no matter what you might have heard, you can make a positive change.
If you are a homeowner you can do some research and switch to a renewable energy provider. If you rent the property and do not have much control over energy providers why not trying to limit your electricity usage by applying some more conscious habits around the household? Small positive changes can have a big impact when multiplied so please don’t stop biking to work, using your reusable coffee cup or bamboo toothbrushes. Those things are great and if nothing else, you are contributing to normalising this sort of behaviour within our society.
2. Take an action.
Becoming an environmental activist does not have to mean chaining yourself to trees. It can mean staying informed and educating yourself on the subject you are passionate about, as well as trying to talk about sustainability at work or with your friends and family.
Donating a small amount of money to an environmental organisation you believe is making a difference or writing a letter to your local MP regarding the issues you are concerned about is also a great step you can take.
3. Connect with nature.
Spending some time outside can really help when you feel overwhelmed or anxious. Go for a walk to a nearby beach, park or forest, or simply take a different route home when walking from work. When you’re outside try to appreciate all the small things that nature has to offer and connect with what you’re standing for.
4. Be kind to yourself and do the basics.
If you are recycling your household waste, trying to avoid single-use plastic and bringing reusable grocery bags when shopping, then you’re doing better than you think. Give yourself some credit for that on the days when motivation is low and remember that this journey is not meant to be perfect, only active. It is a gradual and long-term change and some things don’t even have sustainable alternatives yet. However, by being active and implementing these simple basics into your life you contribute to a better future for all.