How Sustainable Living Begins With Mindfulness
Every weekday morning, without fail, I get out of bed between 5:30 – 6:30 am, and head to the beach.
I complete a workout or yoga session, dive into the ocean, and walk back home.
After two years of slowly trying to live more sustainably and reduce my footprint on the planet, I’ve come to realise that this morning ritual is just as important for my environmental activism as picking up rubbish or shopping waste free.
Image Kate Hall by Nectar Photography
You need to wake up
I used to order drinks with straws, accept plastic bags, and throw my rubbish in the bin without a single thought crossing my mind. It just did it. I had no idea of the repercussions or had any idea of where those plastic products would end up once they were out of sight.
These days, I’ve woken up.
My own ‘eco-journey’ started with ethical fashion and snowballed from there. I couldn’t keep asking who made my clothes, without asking who made my food, or where my rubbish goes. And you know what? I’m still waking up.
Starting my day immersed in nature, helps me wake up even more. At the beach I have an occasional revelation, I am reminded that I am part of the environment, not better than it or separated from it, and I am removed from manmade objects that distract me.
For us to continue existing on this planet, you need to wake up too.
Find your WHY
I wouldn’t be trying to change the status quo by reducing my reliance on plastic and boycotting fast fashion brands if I didn’t have a good reason. I believe the world and its people are too freaking beautiful for us to continue damaging.
Reconnecting with my ‘why’ every morning, means I stay on track with my waste-free goals, and continue my efforts to respect and protect the planet.
Are you passionate about reducing ocean waste, or devastated by the mass culling of trees? Sit at the beach, swim in the ocean, walk in nature to rediscover or find your unique why and visit it often. Even if it’s with a nature documentary or podcast.
Sustainable living requires a sustainable human
Along with reminding me of the very reason I live an eco-friendly lifestyle, my early morning routine is also how I respect myself and my body. In today’s plastic coated society, it’s easy to feel consistently imperfect when you go green. Exercising and taking a whole hour to myself, is how I stay sane. I could not keep up my sustainable lifestyle, without having some time to myself.
It’s easy to spend all your spare time researching ways to further reduce your impact on the planet. But that’s overwhelming and will probably leave you with ‘eco-fatigue’. It’s a thing! Instead, I encourage you to use your spare time to also breath, exercise and ensure your habits are sustainable and not taxing on your energy and body.
Waste free living is slow living
I could easily jump into my to-do list at 6am, and sometimes I do. But slowing down, taking time to get ready for the day, and starting work a few hours after I wake up, is crucial not only for my mental health but also my sustainable lifestyle habits.
It takes time to make your own bread out of plastic-free ingredients from the bulk bin store, and it takes energy to spend three hours in the kitchen creating your own candles and beeswax wraps. The reality is, living sustainably takes a lot more time than our usual fast fashion and fast food practices. You cannot spend time doing these eco-friendly tasks, without adjusting all of your priorities.
Starting my day with space to myself, represents how I want the rest of the day to pan out. It shows myself, and the world around me, that I am willing to slow down and take the time my body and the planet needs, to be sustainable and healthy.
It may sound like some hippy-dippy mumbo jumbo, but sustainable living cannot be truly sustainable, without mindfulness. You cannot make your own food from scratch, and continue to live the busy life you currently do. You will fail if you don’t have a solid why, and if you don’t allow space to ‘wake up’ you will never progress from where you are now.
Whether it be a book on the bus, meditation in your bedroom, watering your garden, playing with your dog, stroking your cat, or going for a run, find your mindfulness practice and do it as often as possible.