In honor of St. Patrick’s Day and all the green that will be donned this weekend, it is fitting to consider “going green” for an even greater purpose: the environment. Going green can be a great way to enhance your mindfulness practice. Noticing what you “can do” versus what you are unable to control is not just being a part of the solution, but it is also empowering.
Making a sustainable lifestyle change is not something that occurs overnight. Just as with mindfulness practice, it is important to practice acceptance of where you are in the present moment. Incorporate each change gradually and know that it is not about being perfect in every aspect of your life. By putting forth effort and intention, you create new habits of thought while acting as an example to others in your community. The growth is exponential!
Here are a few green living tips to practice mindfully:
- Grocery Shopping: When grocery shopping, bring reusable bags and use refillable jars to shop in the bulk section for grains, nuts, or flour. Ditch the single use plastics!
- Dining Out: BYOC – Bring Your Own Containers. Cut down on takeout waste by bringing your own container for leftovers. Also bring your own reusable utensils and straw. (I always keep these items in my car or backpack.)
- Kitchen: In the kitchen, use dish clothes or microfiber towels instead of paper towels and disposable wipes.
- Personal Hygiene: Bamboo toothbrushes, metal razors, and soap bars are great alternatives to plastic and tend to be free of harmful chemicals. LUSH has a variety of great smelling hair and facial products that are zero waste.
- Composting: If you aren’t composting, have no fear! Drop off your scraps to a neighbor or local garden. Scraps can be stored in a freezer bag and dropped off when you have the time.
- Thrifting: Old styles are back in! Check your local vintage and thrift stores for funky clothes. Stylish threads at reasonable prices that also reduce environmental waste…a winning trio.
- Consider a plant-based diet: Reduce your consumption of animal products (meat, eggs, dairy). Let plant-based foods serve as the centerpiece instead of the side dish. Bountiful health benefits come along with it too! Even one mindful meal makes a huge difference.
We are all in this together! It is important to be gentle with your practice. I do not follow these guidelines 100% of the time, but I do my best and lead by example to make this world a better place. Start your week off with by setting an intention of incorporating one green action from the list above.
May your green routines bring you much happiness and joy!
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Shutt is a student at the University of Florida. She is passionate about all things green and currently participates in many forms of environmental advocacy, including the #Unlitter movement. When she isn’t hitting the books, she enjoys cooking plant-based cuisine, composting, and surfing.