Someone recently asked me how I stay upbeat: “How do you not let the weight of our environmental situation get you down?”
Every year, Earth Month (April) hits our lives and disturbs our mindsets with a surge of ecological facts… so much information being shared about the sad state of the environment, it’s easy to feel saddened by the situation. And of course, when Earth day is everyday with the Zero Waste lifestyle, it’s natural to feel frustrated along the way (as I have described here). You even come to wish you did not know as much as you do. It’s a common feeling that we all share on our road to Zero. It certainly affected me at one point, but rest assured that with commitment, these frustrations subside.
Here are 5 ways that I found to remedy depression caused by environmental awareness:
- Retrain your eye. When I started paying attention to waste, I started noticing all the trashy practices around me (the negative). Today, I have learned to focus on the bright side; to pay attention to the solutions (positive). I don’t look for disposable cups in people hands, I look for the reusable ones being carried. I don’t look at the plastic bag of potatoes in the produce aisle (ugh), I look at the beautiful pile of loose ones (ahh).
- Have a good sense of humor. I was recently invited to a sustainable event. They served wine in disposable plastic cups and after a long day of work, I was dying for that drink. Five years ago, I would have whined about the plastic cup. Today, I enjoy the challenge of finding a solution on the spot. Ironically, I noticed that flowers were drinking out of glass jars (vases), people out of plastic ones. I took a vase and someone’s used plastic cup, and after a little hand-washing at the bathroom sink, my problem was solved – and I was a happy camper with a glass of wine in hand…
- Live by example/Walk the talk. I felt angry at the world when I considered the environmental problems to be irreversible and my actions to be too small to make a difference. But once I had a system in place to tackle our waste as much as possible, we became part of the solution and frustrations slowly went away to make room for peace. I stopped worrying about what other people do, and started only worrying about my own actions. Not only is the Zero Waste lifestyle good for the environment, it makes you feel good about what you do, knowing that every purchase, every decision is thought out and every time you shop with reusables your actions are noticed by others and may inspire change.
- Let your voice be heard. I can’t say it loud and clear enough: Accepting is condoning. When
we partake in an unsustainable practice without taking action against it, we not only get frustrated but we also perpetuate the
wasteful method and silently ask for more, which then leads to more frustration! And with the frustration locked up inside us, negativity inevitably starts eating us up (I found this to be particularly true of relationships, but to also be true in this case). Today, I speak up and effectively address these issues on the spot. Taking action (see active discards) and demanding change turns the problem back at its originators, clearing my head of negative thoughts and making room for positive ones!
- Get out more and hug someone (or as a default, hug a tree). There is nothing better for me to de-stress, renew my energy (get rid of the negative one), than to take a walk outside (which I have permanently scheduled into my weekly planner) or hug my family. Can’t get enough of either. It’s as simple as that.
Note: I am no longer posting Fashion Friday on the blog- but I will be and posting it on Facebook and Tweeting it @ZeroWasteHome.