This week I talked about how, at various stages of an eco-journey, there can be a whole load of overwhelm and questions that can be tricky to answer.
During this chat I discuss where that overwhelm can come from, how you can overcome it and how you can help other people.
Video link below or you can scroll down for a rough transcript.
Why becoming eco-friendly can feel overwhelming
There are various stages throughout a journey to make your lifestyle become eco-friendly, and I think each one comes with it’s own challenges.
At the start there is a lot of enthusiasm, you want to change as much as you can as fast as you can as you suddenly become aware of the “error of your ways”. But, this can seem really daunting as actually, as you notice one thing (plastic packaging for example), it suddenly becomes the ONLY thing you can see. I remember when I first started to notice more and I went in to the supermarket and it was just so all consuming, it almost panicked me as I couldn’t see how I could make the switches when I was surrounded by the thing I was trying to avoid.
Once you get over this overwhelm, you’ve made some switches and are more comfortable with your lifestyle, you may start to question “is it enough”. Are these changes going to make a difference? Is buying plastic wrapped, organic, locally grown veg better than unwrapped imported veg. Does you swapping to washable face wipes really make an impact etc etc. You may see a news article about marine animals being strangled on fishing nets and really question if what you are doing is enough to make an impact.
And then, when you have accepted that YES, I am making a difference, no matter how big or small, you might start to dig deeper in to some aspects of your new eco lifestyle. You may look at lowering your meat and dairy consumption, or perhaps growing your own veg, or making your own cleaning products. And again, these things give entirely new problems for you to consider. I recently watched the BBC Documentary, Feast to Save the Nation and it truly was a fascinating watch. It opened my eyes up to so much and really made me think about how to shop. Now I thought I was pretty good… fruit and veg delivery, milk deliveries, meat from the local butchers, as much packaging free from refill shops etc… but that week, I went into the supermarket for some extra bits and honestly nearly cried with the overwhelm of what decision to make. The ONLY fruit I could have bought that day that was grown in the UK was apples. Now I like apples, but not every day and they certainly don’t provide a well-rounded diet. And I’m also trying to cut down on meat and dairy – but nearly all of the alternatives come in non-recyclable packaging! It is a seriously hard act to balance sometimes.
How you can stop the overwhelm
Looking back, now I am 3 years into making eco switches, it seems really clear what the best path to take is (hence why I created the 90 Day Get eco Plan). I’m going to share a couple of my top tips with you to try and reduce that feeling over, is it enough?
- Most importantly, keep telling yourself that YES, it is enough. You are doing great things by being more conscious of what is happening in your planet and doing what you’re doing.
- Set yourself a focus for each month. You may think that this is a bit crazy as it will take years to transform your lifestyle if you take 1 month per area. But honestly – it’s worth doing. Choose an area that you’ve noticed there is work to do, this could be food shopping, bathroom products or green banking and focus on it. Gather together the things you currently have, figure out what can be changed, and then make the changes. Once you’ve completed that area, move on to the next.
- Do what you can, when you can. Some swaps are going to have a great initial cost than others. From all the research I’ve done, eco-friendly lifestyles are not more expensive in the long run, but they may appear that way at first. If you can, set a monthly budget to spend on eco swaps and then you won’t feel to overwhelmed by any outgoings.
- A bit of a cheeky plug here but… join my 90 Day Get Eco Plan or download the Waste Audit guide that I’ve created. Both are completely free and will really help give your eco journey a focus, and momentum.
How you can help others
The easiest way for you to help other people is to TALK to them. Let your family know about your new reusable produce bags, or the milk deliveries you’ve signed up to or a new favourite vegan meal you’ve found in your effort to reduce your carbon footprint.
The amount of times I have had people say ‘oh, I didn’t know that’ is incredible. It’s actually the reason that I started Eco Living Ideas as a business and started this community group. The more we talk about eco topics, the more we can learn from each other and grow.
You can also share books, links to documentaries, links to great Instagram or Facebook accounts that you find inspiring or a blog page.
Be proud of what you are doing and learning and encourage other people to join you.
Click here for the 90 Day Get Eco Plan
Click here for the Waste Audit Guide