We've all been forced to slow down and change gears in our lives since the global quarantine, and this has highlighted many ways in which we have been living our lives on automatic pilot, on the go, often not aware of why we make certain choices in our lives. Previously, choices were often made for expediency's sake. If it saved time and money then that was enough. But now we may be evaluating many of our previous choices, since we've been forced to take time and take stock of what is important.
This may mean our priorities are changing, and quality is taking precedence over quantity. We may realize that quality of time spent is actually more important than the quantity of time spent. Evaluating our priorities in a more conscious way means we have to be honest about why we made the previous choices and whether or not those choices were truly healthy and benefitted everyone involved. The same applies when it comes to living in a more sustainable way. It also shows that you care and are aware of how your choices impact the collective. Something we've all had to reflect upon in different ways during this time.
Some of the ways we can be more conscious are: Research More; Spend Wisely; Downsize & Simplify; Use Less & Save More.
Here are some tips for living a more conscious and sustainable life:
Research More: Taking the time to inform yourself whether it's regarding medical decisions or what kind of toothpaste to buy is important. Reading labels is key, but also looking into how companies are run, how they invest their money and treat their employees should also inform your decision on whether or not you should support them. Make more informed choices by educating yourself. There is always more to learn and understand. Seek out information from multiple sources.
Spend Wisely: Money is power. But not only in the sense of accruing a lot of it. Where you put your dollars is a sign of what you think is important. Your dollars can be your voice regarding whether you support certain business practices. During this time, the only businesses that have been able to stay open are large chains and corporations. Small businesses have suffered the most. So going forward, do you want to keep giving the big guy your hard earned dollars? Or do you want to support small businesses that can supply quality over quantity? Do you want to walk down the street and see small independent businesses flourish? If so, then think twice about where you spend your money. You may save a few dollars, but those extra dollars spent may have more meaning in the long term. A 'paying it forward mentality' can be applied when choosing what businesses to support, and you may find you are rewarded for it down the road.
Downsize & Simplify: More time on your hands and more time spent at home usually results in the realization that you have too much 'stuff' and you've over-complicated things in your life. That can result in a double whammy of overwhelm. Putting time aside periodically to clear out the clutter and donate or sell that which is not truly necessary or useful can be cathartic and freeing. Simplifying can be as easy as having a less is more attitude about most things. That can mean cramming less obligations into your day or buying only two pairs of pants for the new season. Again it's about quality over quantity.
Use Less; Save More: This practice doesn't have to be a huge change but can be many small changes. Like using less paper products for instance. This can mean not printing out so many receipts or emails, or instead of buying paper towels, you use washable cloths. Bamboo products are lot more sustainable than tree paper products. Buying things that involve less packaging is another positive practice, that gives back to the environment and may save you money in the long term. For instance, investing in good re-usable containers that you then fill up with bulk items at the store, instead of pre-packaged items. There is a trend now of bulk shops opening up in which you can bring your own containers and buy everything from food items to cleaning products. It takes some effort but the reward is knowing you've chosen a better way.
Be More Creative: We'v all got some skill or craft that we are good at, it's just a matter of maximizing that. You don't need acres of land to grow food. There are many innovative ways to grow food indoors. If you love to cook, learn the ancient art of canning and pickling. If you are handy with tools, build a shelf instead of buying one from a chain store. The other beautiful thing is skills can be shared and exchanged. The barter system is making a comeback, and how good does it feel when you help someone else but also get a hand made item in return? Or you help your neighbor balance their books and they give you some food from their garden? It's ultimately about the EXCHANGE. Everything is an exchange of time, money or energy. Make it count, make it valuable, but most importantly make it feel good.