10 Ways to Take Care of Yourself and the Planet While Social DistancingLifestyle,Teaching
We are connected to our planet in ways beyond our comprehension. We are made of the same basic elements and have been coexisting for hundreds of thousands of years. Our planet provides us with our basic needs for existence. Our fates are intertwined. So when we choose to make choices that are better for the environment, I think of it as an act of self care. Let’s face it, the eco-friendly alternative for most products is simpler, healthier, and in some cases, less expensive. When we are taking action to benefit the planet, we are benefitting ourselves, and vice versa.
COVID-19 is at the forefront of most of our minds right now, understandably so. It can be difficult to be concerned about a seemingly long term problem, such as the climate crisis, when we are in immediate danger.
If you are an essential worker, or are directly being impacted by this pandemic and you can’t help but to ignore all of the world’s other problems because you just don’t have the capacity to focus on anything else right now, I understand. I am sending you all of my positive vibes, prayers, and gratitude.
The fact of the matter is the climate crisis isn’t going away. It was killing people before coronavirus and will continue to kill more and more people, even after COVID-19 has made its way through society. The climate crisis isn’t a wait until later problem, it is a right now problem. In fact, the Trump administration and the Environmental Protection Agency are working to indefinitely suspend restrictions on large polluting industries in the name of economic stimulus. These include easing regulations on mileage per gallon, permits to pollute local air and water supplies, and lifting protections for wildlife and lands.
The recently approved economic stimulus bill awarding average Americans a one-time payment of $1200, also included multi-billion dollar bailouts for the world’s largest polluting industries: airlines, cruise lines, and oil companies, without giving them one single requirement to lower their emissions once the quarantine period is over. Its frustrating to hear that environmental policy and restrictions that have been put in place to protect our natural world are constantly being undermined, undercut, and reversed by a government that clearly prioritizes corporate interests over the well being of humanity.
But all is not lost. We can channel that angst and anxiety, disappointment and frustration, into action. Quarantine has given many of us a lot more time at home, and has changed the way we do activism and allowed us to focus on self care. So, for all of you eco-warriors out there, or soon to be once I get through with you, here are some tips for how you can take care of yourself while taking care of the environment and stay connected to the climate movement.
- Clear your inbox. – I have multiple email addresses, totaling about 10,000 unread emails that have just piled up throughout the years, and for what? Remember data= emissions, so whether its clearing out photos, cleaning that inbox, or unsubscribing to that newsletter (not this one of course), deleting that digital mess can be good for the planet and a little therapeutic.
- Take an active and intentional break from electronics. – Many of us are working on screens, our kids are learning on screens, then to unwind we are on TVs, tablets, phones, etc. I am actually afraid of what our electricity bill is going to be like with all the TV that has been watched in this house. Make it a point to spend a portion of your day with all devices turned off, or just away from screens. Reading, sitting on your porch, creating art, take a nap, meditate, play a board game with your family, play solitaire with actual cards, cook, the list is endless.
- Experiment with making your own products. – Googling DIY recipes is my favorite pastime. You can really find some great recipes for household goods. These natural products are simple and usually require a few ingredients you may already have at home. Plus, now is the perfect time to try out homemade deodorant, we can’t leave our houses. Simple, natural products are better for our bodies, those harsh chemicals that serve aesthetic purposes come at a price. After making the all natural switch to my deodorant and skin care routine, I saw a noticeable difference in the overall health of my skin. The TMC resource guide has a few DIY recipes, as well as some great social media accounts to follow to give you some ideas.
- Eco-friendly product swaps. – For those products you can’t or won’t make at home, I know of some great brands and small businesses that pride themselves on being an eco-friendly business or engaging in eco-friendly practices. You can even get their products delivered to your door. From reusable paper towels, to skin care, self care, cleaning products, there are so many businesses out there dedicated to providing better options for the us and the planet. It is up to us to help them grow and enter into mainstream practice. Get your resource guide for my eco-friendly business directory.
- Start composting. – There are lots of ways to compost at home, and without the right equipment, composting can be a real nuisance. But there are so many kits and products out there to cater to any household’s varying composting needs. You can start a pile in your backyard or get an outdoor composting system. Or you can just get a small, airtight food scrap bucket that you fill up and empty in your green compost bin that gets emptied by the city. Saving organic food scraps to be broken down naturally is great for plants and helps to drastically lower your landfill waste output.
- Take your activism online. – Circumstances require most of us to stay home. Which we all know too well, that means at the sacrifice of any type of in-person gathering. Clothing swaps, buy nothing groups, even zero waste refill centers, beach clean ups, and protests have all been halted; making our climate activism seemingly disappear. But the fight must continue. With federal governments the world over using COVID-19 as an excuse to dismiss basic environmental protections and cutback major strides toward more sustainable practices and funding on a large scale, now is the time more than ever to ramp up our efforts. Though we cannot physically apply pressure on corporations, banks, and politicians to do right by the environment, we can still use our collective voices and continue the movement online. By signing petitions, using certain hashtags and posting to shine light on issues. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter to find out the different virtual spaces for you to exercise your climate activism.
- Get informed. – The saying, “knowledge is power,” is all but cliche but it’s true. Our best resource to combat and adapt to the hardships that are to come is by educating ourselves about ways the climate crisis is effecting and will continue to effect us, and what we can do to help on both individual and collective levels. My resource guide has a list of books and documentaries meant to do just that.
- Take care of yourself .- Get moving, eat a healthy diet, meditate, pray, journal, take a bath, call your therapist, or even seek out low cost or free therapy services, color, paint a picture, join that virtual healing zoom meeting, or happy hour zoom meeting, whatever you need to do to feed your soul is imperative right now. It can be very difficult and daunting to be present and prioritize healing. We are all dealing with a lot emotionally and mentally, many of us feeling helpless, others feeling overwhelmed, or all of the above. But no matter who you are, or your circumstances, try your best to prioritize your mental, physical, and emotional health daily. If you are taking care of yourself, you are taking care of all of us, and the planet too.
- Keep online purchases limited to essential products only. – We all have differing ideas about what is considered essential. I am not going to be the one to tell you what you need in order to survive this quarantine. But just remember, the people who make it possible for you to receive your packages are risking their health to make it possible for you to still receive mail. Not to mention, the processing, shipping, and handling of packages before they reach your door are handled by many hands, increasing the risk of spreading the virus. So let’s just make sure we aren’t taking advantage of this availability by frivolously consuming because we are bored and it’s convenient.
- Declutter and reorganize your space. – Getting rid of clutter can be so liberating. At a time like now, when much is out of my control, cleaning and organizing is a coping strategy I use to redirect my focus to what is within my control. Organizing your space is the first step to living a simpler life. Though right now may be a difficult time to donate goods, try saving for donation, recycling, re-purposing, or reusing anything you can before throwing them away for good.
We are all in this together. I know it is scary to exist in the world at this time. But we have the power to change the world around us. Together we can voice and push for the change we want to see. We can live our daily lives in a way that respects our bodies and the environment alike.
Have questions about other ways to take care of yourself and the environment, feel free to contact me. Follow me on social media and subscribe to our newsletter for other updates and resources to help you navigate the complicated issues we’re facing in this rapidly changing world.