Living a more sustainable life
A couple of months ago I had a bit of a crisis moment, I was feeling rundown and burned out, tired and anxious. Yep, even self care coaches can have their moments!
Although I was doing many of the good self care things I know help, I was still feeling like I was sinking under the weight of my workload, my health worries and everything else.
As I started to find my way out of it, a word came to mind and it’s been a word that’s become a bit of a guiding light for me since: sustainable.
What I realised is that I had a habit of doing things unsustainably – I’d take on too much work, I’d spend in an unsustainable way, I’d manage my time unsustainably, in the past I most definitely treat my body in an unsustainable way too.
Since then I’ve become really focused on how I can live in a more sustainable way. Obviously sustainability has some big links to the environment, and what I’ve found is that by looking at sustainability from multiple viewpoints, I’ve become more environmentally sustainable as well.
The questions I asked myself a few months ago were:
- How can I make my business more sustainable?
- How can I look after my body and mind in a more sustainable way?
- How can I manage my money in a sustainable way?
- How can I manage my time in a sustainable way?
- What does a more sustainable household look like?
- What would sustainable habits look like?
Since then I’ve made lots of tweaks and changes in how I do things to channel this more sustainable vibe…
I let go of some business projects
I made the tough decision to close down my Wholeheartedly You programme and stop creating the quarterly journals. I looked at my business and how I could make things simpler and more streamlined. Simpler definitely equals more sustainable in my book!
This helped me save time and brain space for the other work I do and definitely helped me manage my workload a lot better.
For you, this might look like reviewing your workload and letting go of tasks that aren’t working or finding simpler ways to do them with the help of colleagues if needed. Sometimes we do stuff just because that’s how it’s already been done, but if it’s adding to an already complex and full on work load it’s not going to be sustainable in the long run.
I started spending less and becoming more conscious with my money
To be fair I had been in a process of getting better with money over the last few years, but something about looking at my spending and money management via the concept of sustainability has helped me even more.
Now I’m much less likely to spend impulsively because I’m more aware of how unsustainable that is in the long term. I’m also really aware how much I don’t want to be bringing more crap into the house.
Apart of this has also been switching our regular grocery shops to Lidl, buying more things second hand and making purchases that will last us longer – for example I bought some reusable cotton rounds instead of having to keep on buying the regular kind and throwing them out – hence the environmental element!
I really asked myself what is sustainable in terms of my diet
I had been starting to let a lot of old programming around diet slip back in – the old food rules that told me I shouldn’t eat dairy, gluten or meat etc. The problem I have with this is that those food rules are unsustainable for me and often backfire in that I end up eating more unhealthy food because I can’t adhere to these ‘rules’.
So asking myself what is actually sustainable – which for me is eating mostly whole unprocessed foods which will occasionally include dairy, gluten, meat, sugar, carbs etc has been just what I’ve needed to bust out of that old mindset creeping back in.
Decluttered and simplified things at home
I was already a big fan of decluttering but I’ve been doing even more lately – having lots of crap isn’t sustainable so it’s been a match between letting go of stuff that doesn’t serve us any purpose (much of it lately has been Finley’s old toys) and then being much more aware of what new things we bring into the house too.
As I said earlier we’re buying more things second hand now and selling more of our things too (I sold an old camera on eBay for £250 I was over the moon!)
I’ve also been working on getting more organised, now I have a drawer for gift wrap and old gift boxes to be reused and I’m working on creating a travel kit and a well organised home maintenance drawer too as inspired by Remodelista: The Organised Home.
Sometimes making your life more sustainable is about getting really honest about what is sustainable for you in the phase of life you’re in. As a Mum to a young child who’s running two businesses, with the resources (financial and otherwise) available to me, that has been a bit of a wake up call.
I’ve also layered on how I actually want my life to feel in all of this – because that was the issue, my life wasn’t feeling the way I wanted it too, instead of slow and calm it was feeling rushed and anxious. My sustainability has to include the ability to be slow and calm or else it’s not really going to be sustainable for me!
Looking at this has also meant I needed to let some dreams go – at least for now. I would have loved to start a podcast again but alas, that’s just not sustainable for me right now.
Sustainability does have that environmental element and the more I’ve become interested in a sustainable life the more interested I’ve become in lower impact living too!
What are your thoughts on living a more sustainable life? Does life feel sustainable to you these days? What could you tweak to make things more sustainable for you?
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Laura Agar Wilson is a wellbeing coach and business mentor who helps overwhelmed women live a life of more intention via planning, routines and seasonal living.
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