Updated: Sep 6
As nature lovers, beauty lovers, environmentalists, activists, girlfriends, wives, mothers, friends, sisters, etc....you could say we have a lot going on. With the challenges of daily life plus the sometimes overwhelming climate anxiety it can all just be too much some days. And you know what? That's ok. We are human and it IS a lot to deal with. And if we're being totally honest, practicing a low-waste lifestyle can be difficult at times. Which is why taking care of yourself is essential to pursuing a low-waste lifestyle or any goals in your life.
Just recently I've had a big reminder about this. My fiance and I have just recently relocated to San Francisco and within 3 weeks have driven cross-country, found an apartment, and furnished said apartment all while holding full-time jobs and running a business. To be honest, it's been wonderful and exciting but also exhausting and overwhelming. During this time my cherished daily routine has been thrown out the window. I haven't been eating normally, not really exercising, and sleeping less than 5 hours a night most days. I know that this is temporary state while we get settled and find our groove in this new place but sometimes in the thick of it, it all just feels like too much and I can't bear one more thing on my plate. Which is where the sustainable slips come in. Buying coffee in a takeaway cup because you left your reusables at home and going without coffee just isn't an option to your tired self. Opting for click & collect groceries that are in plastic bags. Ordering takeout because you don't have the energy to cook. And then the guilt comes in and makes me feel even worse. Like I'm failing myself, my values, and breaking the commitment I've made to tread lightly on Mama Earth while she is fighting for balance.
The truth is, leading a low waste lifestyle takes effort and planning ahead. And no matter what stage of life you're in there will be times when you need to take a step back and prioritize taking care of yourself so that you can regain the energy and motivation to get back into it. Maybe you're moving like me, or maybe you've just had a baby for the first time, or maybe you're just having to travel a lot for work. Regardless of the reason we all have busier moments in life where we just can't do it all. And that is totally ok!! Do not feel guilty or beat yourself, it will just create more negative feelings and negative momentum. Negativity is not what will support us in pursuing any kind of lofty goals in our lives, it will only keep us stuck. Beating yourself up and striving for a "perfect" zero-waste lifestyle will never work because it just doesn't exist. Even the best of the best make mistakes. The key is learning from your mistakes and sticking to the path you've chosen, over and over again after each mistake.
So, if you're going through a challenging time in your life or are feeling a bit burnt out, I'm encouraging you to give yourself permission to take a pause. For the next couple of days or weeks just give yourself a break and do whatever it is you need to do to recharge. Do this FIRST, before any other actions. To make big changes in your life and pursue a low-waste lifestyle, or environmental activism, you need to be full of positive energy, motivation, creativity, and JOY! It sounds cliche but you really do have to fill your own cup first in order to fully show up in your life. We need more people doing this than ever before, but you can't show up with depleted energy or you'll risk burning out early. So take care of yourself, the planet is counting on it!