Giving a damn about the planet has actually made me care for myself more
Confession time: I have well and truly been swept up in the wave of environmental change. 2018 has been the year people started becoming woke about our negative impact on this planet (looking at you plastic) and I am here for it. I knew I’d become a greener person when I started making changes in my own lifestyle, but what I didn’t realise is that I would find a new self-love and start caring about my body more.
What’s going in
Your body is your temple right? Well the outside of my temple looked better (although also a matter of opinion haha) than the inside for most of my life, until I started down the path of least impact. I started doing some reading about the dangers of plastic and realised that it’s not just bad for the environment, but also bad for your body. I had scoffed at everyone who said not to heat up your leftovers in plastic containers in the microwave because they leak chemicals. I thought it was bogus and they were trying to stop me eating my delicious leftover pad thai, but it turns out it’s not! In fact, turns out there are so many harmful things on our foods and food storage containers and I while won’t bore you to death with all the stats, highly recommend doing some reading of your own on it.
So how did I start treating my insides better? I looked at food labels and if I didn’t know what an ingredient was, I didn’t buy it. I stopped buying microwave meals (I live alone don’t judge me). I also stopped heating up my leftovers in plastic containers, now it’s only glass or microwave safe plastic (they’re not the best choice but they are still a better choice). One other change I made is to become mostly vegetarian. Don’t run away! It works! I don’t cook meat in my house and I meal prep so at least 15 meals a week are vego. Ethics aside, meat consumption is hard on the environment and many health experts believe too much meat can lead to abnormal cell growth (read: cancer). To me, it’s a no brainer to cut back and only have meat as a treat. It still shocks me sometimes, but I do genuinely give a crap what I put in my body now. I’m healthier by default and feel so much more appreciative of this vessel that’s carrying me through life.
The outside counts too
The inside is one thing, but how do you bemore enviro on the outside? Well, in my bid to be more eco-friendly I started learning about the zero-waste movement. It’s still early days for me, but besides saying no to straws, plastic bags and takeaway cups, I’ve committed to making my bathroom a zero-waste zone by the end of the year. I think tackling one room at a time is the right approach for me and since I love my beauty stuff, it’s the place where I can have the most fun making a change. Again on the chemicals, I realised that the products I was using had a lot of things in them that could potentially harm me down the track, or were harming the environment while being made. Also, did you know your skin is your biggest organ? That means everything you put on it gets absorbed into your skin or bloodstream.Why wouldn’t I want to put the best things on it? Things that nourish it instead of poison it?
I now use a safety razor (a metal one that is plastic free and uses blades), shampoo and conditioner bars, package free body wash and soap bars, bamboo toothbrushes, biodegradable floss, washable makeup remover pads and DIY coconut oil body butter (it’s so lush!). Since I made these changes my skin has been GLOWING! I used to get a lot of contact dermatitis from the additives in shampoo and now I never get red and itchy. I’m also a lot more prone to a pampering session since everything I own in the bathroom feels more special and is good quality. I take time where I used to rush, I admire where I used to shrug off and I applaud what I used to take for granted.
Quality over quantity
Giving a damn about Mother Nature also made me think about how I spend my leisure time. I’m a self-confessed internet addict but I wanted to use less electricity so my energy usage came down, how did I do it? I got out more! Instead of chilling on the couch, I made exercise a priority and take long walks with friends for a dose of health and self-care. My love for the great outdoors has grown tenfold too. I’m bordering on hugging trees sometimes that’s how much joy I get from seeing nature bloom! I also started having candlelit nights instead of using electricity too, and we all know candles scream #treatyoself. I also wanted to reduce my consumption and start thinking about the quality of things rather than the quantity. Instead of buying books, I went back to my childhood roots and joined a library.
I’m now only buying what I need instead of what I want, and I’m not afraid of the op shop anymore! You can find some great things in there and it’s less unloved and poor quality clothing going into the environment. Caring about where my waste goes has extended to caring about my quality of life. I now see that as humans the best way to get quantity in years, is to buy quality products and use your time wisely (i.e. outdoors instead of in front of screens).