The Connection Between Sustainable Living and Your Health
Sustainability has always been important. But, it’s been a hot topic of conversation in recent years due to the effects of climate change and carbon emissions. More people than ever want to lead sustainable lifestyles.
There’s no denying the benefits sustainability has on the planet. It can create a cleaner, greener future for the next generation, protect millions of ecosystems across the globe, and improve everything from the water we drink to the air we breathe.
However, living sustainably can also have a positive impact on your personal health. Making small, sustainable choices every day can not only improve the planet, but your overall well-being. Let’s cover a few of those sustainable changes you can make, and how they can impact both your physical and mental health.
One of the easiest ways to live more sustainably — and reap the rewards — is to change the way you shop. Everything from the food you eat to the products you clean with can have an impact on the planet and your health.
First, consider cutting back on single-use plastic when you’re shopping for products. That includes avoiding things like water bottles or items with a lot of excess packaging. Purchase a reusable water bottle and consider buying as many items as possible in bulk, using your own bags each time. The more you focus on buying whole ingredients, the more likely you are to make healthy meals at home. That will help you cut back on how often you order out, which is better for your wallet, your health, and the environment.
When it comes to things like household cleaners, the best thing you can do to be more sustainable (and improve your health) is to read labels. There are plenty of companies out there today that are guilty of “greenwashing”. They’ll use words or designs that suggest their products are good for the planet, but it’s nothing more than a clever marketing tactic. Focus on cleaning solutions with natural ingredients, and research companies that have committed to using the best, high-quality ingredients in their products. Using natural cleaners without harsh chemicals will help your family breathe easily, and it can be especially helpful for anyone with respiratory issues.
Spending More Time Outside
The more time you spend indoors, the more likely it is that you’ll be using electricity and water, and contributing to things like food waste. One of the best things you can do for yourself and the planet is to spend as much time in the great outdoors as possible.
Multiple studies have covered the mental health benefits of being outside. Some of those benefits include:
- A better mood
- Reduced stress
- Better relaxation
- Improved self-esteem
Being outside can also encourage you to be more physically active. Spend time doing activities you enjoy, like hiking. Hiking is something you can do with the whole family, and when you’re heading out on nature trails, you’ll be able to observe and appreciate the beauty of the planet with every step.
You can also spend more time outside with a focus on sustainability by creating a garden. Growing your own food can be done organically without the use of chemicals, and it cuts back on your need to go to the store so frequently. You’re doing your part to reduce the carbon footprint associated with supply chain shipping. Gardening might also encourage you to eat a more plant-based diet, which is wonderful for offsetting some of the carbon emissions generated by the meat and dairy industries. Plant-based diets can also lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease, and might even help to slow down the aging process.
Making Sustainable Swaps
There are things you do each day that can undoubtedly be made “greener” with just a few simple changes. While it might seem like a lot of effort to change up your routine, it doesn’t take long to form new habits. For example, consider your daily commute to work. Depending on how far you live from your place of employment, it might be possible to walk, ride a bike, or even take public transportation instead of driving your car. That simple swap can cut back on your carbon emissions.
Even if you’re not able to find a different way to get to the office, consider where else you might be able to walk instead of driving. Maybe instead of going to your favorite fast food spot for lunch, you pack your own meal and take a walk around the block. Walking has so many health benefits, including:
- Stronger muscles
- Boosted energy
- Better balance
- Better sleep
- Weight control
That’s only the beginning when it comes to sustainable swaps. When you start to adopt an eco-friendly mindset, it’s easier to come up with habitual changes that can make a big difference in your life. That could include things like switching to cold water for laundry or ditching plastic bags. You could even start composting your food scraps to provide natural “fuel” for the garden we talked about earlier!
There are plenty of ways to live sustainably while improving your physical and mental health. When you start to look at how closely the two are connected, it’s easy to see how important it is to take care of the planet, so it can take care of us in return!