Maintaining Sustaining

Small Changes That Make a Big Difference

It’s all too easy to get stuck in a certain way of doing things or using the same things we always have just because…we always have. So what better time than now to take a look at some small changes we can make that will reap dividends in the long run both for our personal health and the health of the planet?

Grooming Glow-up

There are so many easy changes to make around your bathroom sink. Forget expensive makeup removing wipes and spend a few bucks on a soft makeup removing towel. Not only can you use it for years (just throw it in the wash when it gets dirty), it removes makeup easily with just water. This means that not only are you saving the environment from a glut of non-compostable wipes, you’re also saving your skin from unwanted chemicals.

To reduce your waste even more, replace your cotton balls with washable bamboo or cotton pads and trade out that manual toothbrush for a bamboo one. This is biodegradable so chuck it in the compost bin when you start a new one.

It’s so easy to find vegan, cruelty-free and “clean ingredient” products and cosmetics these days, there really is no excuse to keep treating your skin and the environment so badly.

Hobby Smarter

Support your local library! Yes, that’s all well and good but my local library is closed or it’s really inconvenient to go there at the moment. Go online! Really? Yes, really. Most libraries have their own website and if you have a library card, you can borrow ebooks. But I prefer reading proper books! Just try it, will you? If you have a Kindle device, there are plenty of Kindle format books you can download. Don’t have a Kindle? You can read it on your phone. You normally have it with you so you can read a few pages waiting in line or while the kids are playing at the park. Look, you spend half your time reading posts about nonsense on it anyway, you might as well spend that time better and discover a new author. Not to brag but I read 39 books last year and all but seven were electronic. Free books and no shelf space needed. Win-win.

Another change you can make to your hobbies is to go second-hand. People are often giving away things so you’re saving yourself money and saving something else from landfills. Find a local swap meet site or keep an eye on the neighborhood “for sale” pages. Over the last six months, I’ve bought second-hand bikes locally for both of my kids and scored a free pair of roller skates. Sure, the bikes are a bit scuffed up but perfectly suited for learning on and I didn’t have to assemble them! I have also offloaded several bags of in-great-condition clothes that my kids have grown out of to make way for clothes that they will take slightly longer to grow out of.

You can also head to sites like eBay to look for things like assortments of random Lego pieces, craft kits, art supplies, or anything that can be easily mailed.

Clean Up Your Act

Have you heard the phrase “tidy home, tidy mind”? Basically, it means that if you keep your living space in order, your mind will be free of clutter too. While hanging up all your shirts isn’t going to drastically improve your mental state, taking small steps to get organized will bring you satisfaction and is something easy you can control.

Start with simple things like making your bed in the morning and tackling the washing up in one swoop. Get rid of the pile of clothes on that chair by putting everything in the laundry basket or back in the cupboard. If it’s “too dirty” to go in the cupboard, put it in the laundry basket!

Clean one room at a time or set yourself a specific task. If you can’t get your tasks done in one day, break it down even further, anything’s better than nothing. You might find that once you finally get around to dusting the now-furry blinds in your room, you’ll have the impetus to do all the other blinds too. Put on some music or a podcast and who knows? You might even enjoy it.

Be Here Now

One of the things that requires the smallest amount of effort but will have a great effect on your wellbeing is just living in the moment. Slow your brain down and focus on the sights and sensations around you. Take the time to really enjoy the feeling of finally sliding into that warm bath. Regain your sense of wonder at a beautiful sunset that changes from minute to minute until it’s gone. Smell the smells. Taste the food. Connect with how your body’s feeling and be grateful for all the things you still have.

-Katy Watson

Photo: EcoPanda via Wikimedia Commons


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