Green Living: 10 Tips for Simple Sustainability at Home

Sustainable living is governed by a lifestyle that aims to reduce a person’s environmental impact. When broken down into small steps, we have the power to make changes in many aspects of our day-to-day life. Though the journey to consuming mindfully and sustainable living may not happen overnight, by making some of these simple changes you can start reducing your environmental impact today. To make sustainable living more accessible, here are 10 simple tips to help you live greener.

Kettle Care

Any tea or coffee lovers out there? This one’s for you. By simply measuring out the water before boiling, whether that be in the mug itself or with the markings on the kettle, you will save energy. The UK actually uses more electricity on kettles than it does on ovens. Luckily the solution is simple, don’t overfill the kettle and regularly descale it to clean out the limescale. If it’s full of limescale it actually takes more energy to boil the same amount of water.

white ceramic cup on saucer
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Control Food Waste

Take a look at the fresh produce in your kitchen, particularly the fridge. In order to eliminate food waste, plan your meals around what’s available and prioritise food in order of sell-by date. If a perishable product is about to go off, for example bread or bananas, freeze it. Instead of throwing away any food that has already reached its expiry date, remove it from its packaging and place it in the food bin so it can be disposed of in an eco-friendly way.

Less Energy on Laundry

When it comes to washing your clothes, the most efficient way to save energy is by turning down the temperature on the washing machine. In fact, research confirms that washing at 30°C instead of 40°C reduces your energy consumption on average by 57% per cycle. The majority of the cycle’s energy goes on heating up the water, so by reducing the temperature less energy is consumed. Additional energy can also be saved by hanging fresh washing out to dry as opposed to using a machine dryer.

Washable Cloths

The idea of having a disposable tea towel seems absurd, yet that’s not quite the case with our cleaning cloths. By investing in washable cleaning cloths for cleaning and dusting your home, you are able to reduce household waste by washing rather than throwing away dirty cloths.

wooden hanger with towels and basket with bathroom products
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Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

The next time you’re in need of a new cleaning product, opt for the eco-friendly options. Make a concerted effort to find local stores that stock these eco-friendly products as not all supermarkets will sell them. These products reap benefits as they don’t harm the environment. Additionally, by going green there will no longer be harmful chemicals absorbed into the skin or breathed in when cleaning. It’s a win-win purchase.

Ditch the Plastic

Fortunately, many governments have enforced laws to limit the use and sales of plastic. As of October 2020, regulations banned the sales of plastic straws, cotton buds and stirrers in England. We, as individuals, can also promote conscious living by ditching plastic. Replace the one-use plastic bags at the store with reusable shopping bags like tote bags or the lifelong bags available at the check-out. Also, when looking for new beauty, hygiene or cleaning products, opt for the solid options like bar soaps and shampoos. Instead of investing in products that come in plastic packaging, look for ones with glass containers for sustainability purposes.

LED Lightbulbs

The next time you go shopping for a new lightbulb, get an LED bulb as opposed to the conventional fluorescent bulb. Though LED bulbs tend to be more expensive, they actually save money in the long run as they are more energy efficient. LED bulbs produce less waste than their fluorescent counterparts when producing light. One reason is because more energy is spent on producing light rather than heat.

black kettle beside condiment shakers and green fruits and plants on tray on brown wooden table
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Go Paperless

Paperless billing is particularly common nowadays. From household bills to banking, the majority of companies offer email billing rather than post paper billing to save on paper. It’s also a great way to make bills more accessible too. Many tasks like assignments and journaling can also be done virtually too. Also, a kindle is a great option for any book lovers.

Avoid Trends

When shopping, ask yourself will I use this a year from now or is it just a fad? Think about your potential purchases with the future in mind, especially fashion. Shop for timeless products and items of clothing that you fall in love with, disregarding the influence of current trends. Shop smart on your journey towards sustainability.

Recycle, Resell, Reuse

For all things paper, plastic and glass related, recycling is a sustainable option. In terms of clothing, objects, games, toys etc., these products can be resold on sites like Ebay, Facebook, or even donated to local charities and, in turn, given to a new home. For items that have had their fair share of wear and tear, get creative and see if they can be turned into something new. A good place to start could be turning an old t-shirt into a cleaning cloth, though YouTube is an amazing source of DIY inspiration.

“Cherish the natural world because you’re a part of it and you depend on it.” – Sir David Attenborough

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5 Ways to Beat the Monday Blues

Do you feel a sense of sadness, stress, or anxiety? Are you in pursuit of motivation? Are you finding it hard to get things done?

If any of the above apply to you, you may have a case of the Monday Blues...

What are the Monday Blues?

A Blue Monday is defined as a Monday that is “depressing or trying especially because of the return to work and routine after the weekend.” It’s knowing that a weekend of fun and relaxation is over with the work week looming ahead.

So, what are some quick fixes to get over a case of the Monday Blues?

Make a List of Things to Look Forward To

Instead of focusing on the mundane or difficult tasks that lay ahead of you, think about all the good to come. Make a list by writing out some things that you are currently looking forward to. A good place to start is to think of one thing you are excited about for each category: at work, after work, and at the weekend. If it’s hard to come up with three things to look forward to, get planning ASAP! We’re not talking about anything extravagant, just simple things that uplift you like meeting a friend for coffee.

interior of stylish room with elegant furniture and mirror in frame
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Prioritise Sleep

Sleep has a tremendous effect on our mood. According to Harvard Medical School, “poor or inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being.” So, if you find yourself a little more short-tempered than normal, sleep may be the answer. Take a nap to reenergise or get to bed earlier tonight to make up for lost sleep. It’s worth taking this into account on Sunday to avoid a lack of energy on a Monday morning.

Do a Good Deed

Doing something good to make someone else happy is actually a win-win situation. Chances are you will end up feeling better for it too. According to Psychology Today, there’s a “direct correlation with overall well-being and giving out time, money or other resources to a cause.” This doesn’t have to mean investing lots of time and money. Why not help someone close to home? If someone could do with a helping hand, be that person. Want to go above and beyond beating the Monday Blues? Engrain a sense of fulfillment and happiness in your schedule by volunteering. It’s a great way to help others, especially if you choose wisely. Do something your passionate about, or a cause close to home to make it all the more beneficial.

Dress to Impress

Though this may seem trivial, don’t underestimate the power of an outfit. We have all experienced those feel-good vibes a killer outfit can bring. It makes you feel good, right? Well, it can also help brighten up your day. In fact, “psychologists conclude that the strong link between clothing and mood suggests we should put on clothes that we associate with happiness, even when feeling low.” In short, what better day than a blue Monday to wear what makes you feel great!

clothes hanged on clothes rack
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Keep your Schedule Light

After a weekend of fun and taking it easy, it might be best to keep Monday’s schedule a little lighter than other days. This doesn’t mean sitting around and drowning in your Monday Blues. It means that instead of facing the most complicated stuff on a Monday, put some time into the easier tasks. Diminish Monday Blues and any anxiety or stress by allowing yourself to do Monday with more ease.

Wishing you all a happy Monday. Of course, constant Monday Blues may be a sign of something serious like maybe your work doesn’t bring you joy. If that’s the case, it’s best to be proactive and think up a plan of action. Though if you are feeling a little lost, talking to an expert is a great way to gain insight. These quick fixes are intended to beat the Monday blues, boost your mood and set you up for success. Let me know in the comments below what your Monday Blues prescriptions are.

8 Simple Ways to Help Save the Planet

Sustainability in day-to-day life is a great way to help save the planet and even save some money too. The key is to remember that it’s the little things that make a difference. So, here you are 8 simple ways to look after the planet because, let’s face it, the Earth is our home.

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swann.

Eat Less Meat

By replacing meat with plant-based alternatives, think lentils, beans, and plants, you can help save the planet by helping reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Vegetarian Society, the farming production process actually “totals 30% of all global greenhouse gas emissions.” Fortunately, there are also further benefits to a plant-based diet beyond sustainability purposes.

Avoid Palm Oil

In terms of sustainability, palm oil is a huge no-no. This is a result of the large-scale devastation of forests that the process of palm oil extraction entails. It’s the cause of widespread habitat loss for endangered species including rhinos, elephants, and orangutans.

Cycling

For short journeys, having a bike is a great way to travel sustainably. Having a bike is so much cheaper than going by car, it has zero emissions, and you will even burn some calories on the way.

Photo of cafe with bike
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Cook with the Lid on

Cooking with the lid on your pots and pans or even using a steam cooker is a great way to conserve energy. Covering your pots requires less cooking time which means you get your food quicker and help save energy, it’s a win-win situation!

Recycle oil

Just 1 litre of water poured down the kitchen sink can lead to up to 1000 litres of polluted water. By recycling cooking oil, we can help prevent severe environmental damage as well as that dreaded drain blockage. Recycled oil can actually be used to produce fuel or even fertilizer, so making that trip to the oil recycling point is definitely worthwhile.

Reusable Bottles

Did you know that a plastic bottle takes around 450 years to decompose? For this reason, it’s worth investing in a reusable drinking bottle. Not only does it save you money on buying bottled water, but it also prevents one-use-only plastic purchases.

Reusable glass bottles on a table
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Unplug Everything

Although turned off at the switch, all plugged-in devices actually consume some energy known as “standby” energy loss. So, do not be deceived by the fact that your device is turned off, it can still sneakily keep drawing power.

Support Green Businesses

Whether it be beauty brands, food-related, or even a local business, what better way to invest your money than knowing that you are helping save the planet through their sustainability? Look for eco-friendly brands and google the most sustainable businesses in your local area to get collaborating right away. Plus, this way you might avoid spending spree guilt!

I hope these simple ways to lead a more sustainable life have been of use to you. Comment below and let me know the most effective ways to be more environmentally friendly on a day-to-day basis!

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Paying Attention to Detail: Brighten up Your Day with Gratitude

Gratitude has the ability to transform your mindset from negativity to positivity. According to scientific studies, not only does it improve your psychological health, but it also improves your physical health. It can help rid us of toxic emotions like anger or envy, and fight off any fleeting negativity. For some, gratitude may be engrained in your daily routine, or for others, it may be a spontaneous activity. Either way, here are some sources of inspiration to brighten up your day with gratitude.

Think Outside the Box

For those of you that keep a gratitude journal, I’m sure you’ve spotted some common themes, things that constantly appear on your list. These might be family, friends, health, financial security, pets etc. and understandably so! They are the essential pillars of happiness for many. It’s always interesting to spice it up a bit and think of a range of things unique to the present day or week that you feel grateful for. For example, instead of writing friends in general, name someone that you feel particularly grateful for now.

house in the middle of crop field
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Pay Attention

From a young age, my nan has been a source of inspiration. She pays attention to all the good around her and always has something positive to say. She finds joy in all the little things that most of us hardly notice. The amazing things she sees on her walks, about the wonderful cooking she’s been doing, how beautiful the flowers that are blooming in her garden are… She pays attention to the little things we tend to forget about and it’s definitely the secret behind her happiness. She is grateful for and mindful of everything that encompasses her. Let’s take a leaf out of her book and pay attention to our surroundings and day-to-day activities in a mindful way.

The Honey Bee Analogy

A while back I came across an incredibly inspiring video by a guru called Radhanath Swami. It’s about the honey bee and the fly mentality. The analogy talks about where each of these creatures gives its attention. A honey bee goes from flower to flower in search of nectar. It doesn’t worry about the size of the flower or how far away it might be, it searches for the flower’s essence. It does this in the most unexpected of places, despite the fact it might be next to rubbish or filth. Whereas the fly is, quite literally, always looking for shit. It focuses on the rubbish despite all the beauty that might be nearby.

The Gratitude Mindset

The fly represents the mind that fails to notice all the good things we’re surrounded by. In contrast, the honey bee makes a concerted effort to look for positivity, no matter how hard that may be. This analogy emphasises the fact that fault-finding is a habit, a mindset. It is so easy to focus on all the negativity around us, just like the fly. What is more challenging is the honey bee approach, paying attention to all the good around us. If you look hard enough, it will be there even on those bad days. Don’t fall into the trap of being the fly, pay attention to everything good that there is to be grateful for around you.

Positivity is Perspective

Strive to pay attention to all the good around you. If you find yourself falling into the fly mindset, remind yourself to look just a little further just like the honey bee. Go on a walk in nature, listen to your favourite playlist, cook a recipe you love. It’s about being mindful of the little things that so often go by unnoticed. The secret to gratitude is in paying attention to detail.

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