As we are in the throws of Covid-19, most of us have found more time on our hands. More time always creates self reflection for me. There have been several changes that I’ve made during this time. It all began when the grocery store shelves became more and more bare, and we couldn’t find toilet paper, paper towels, or liquid hand soap. This is where I began to question: How much do we really need? What would happen if we couldn’t find toilet paper? And more so, how much toilet paper do these other people (hoarders) really need???
These questions lead to bigger questions, and with time on my hands, I began my research! What this led to was a full on lifestyle change. Now, none of this was 100% new to me. I’ve always been drawn to non-toxic solutions. I love learning about health and nutrition. And I’m not new to recycling or gardening. But, there was much for me to learn and many ways that I could do better.
- Sustainability and Zero Waste: I have become much more aware of what I am throwing away. We took a beach trip and saw all the trash washed up on the shore. This made me so incredibly sad. I thought that I was doing good with recycling…until I learned how to do better. We often forget the first part of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. REDUCE is what I am focused on now. If I don’t truly need it, then I won’t buy it at all. I think this ties in beautifully with the Minimalistic lifestyle. We can always do with less. The lockdown showed me that. Once I started researching Zero Waste, (I truly wondered why anyone would do that) I found that everything we send to landfills just sits there, basically forever. It doesn’t biodegrade, it doesn’t compost, it just sits- emitting gases, contributing to global warming, and using up our beautiful land for trash. The more that we can reduce our waste, the better. I am not perfect, nor am I anywhere near zero, but we have reduced our trash to about 1 kitchen bag every week and a half. I did this by paying attention to what I buy and how I buy it. We also started a compost in our backyard. It’s easy peasy, promise!
- Minimalism: This ties into what I was talking about above. Since we have spent so much time at home, I’ve realized how much my kids DO NOT play with all their toys. I would say they play with about 10% of what they actually have. We have found that we would be perfectly happy with this small amount of toys, our books, a deck of cards and 3 board games. Of course, technology is ALWAYS a battle. They love to watch movies and play games on their tablets. We minimize that time. The overall lesson here is that we have way more than we need. Not only is this not environmentally friendly, but it’s a waste of money. We will be rethinking how we gift on birthdays, as well as Christmas. The great thing about minimizing what is in our home is that we find that we don’t need that much more space. I always thought I needed a bigger house. Turns out, I just needed less stuff!
- Getting Back to the Land: We are outside more. We take walks everyday. We watch the squirrels and birds play in the backyard. We weed the garden. Did I mention that we started a compost? Ha! That one has been really exciting for me. It’s 550 degrees right now in our corner of Texas, so I missed my window to plant veggies until about September. This should give us the perfect amount of time for us to get some rich, beautiful compost gold! I love sending the kids out to put their scraps in the compost pile. I think this is as good as growing your own food. Not only do they learn through gardening that their nutritious food comes from the earth; now they know that the scraps can go back into the earth. We talk about the bugs and smells (if it’s done right, it just smells like dirt) and the cycle of life. We discuss what happens to the stuff that cannot go in the compost. It’s been a great teaching and learning experience.
- Health: Man, this is a big one. I can’t remember a time in my life that this has ever been so prevalent. The pandemic is killing the sick. We already knew that heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other diseases such as these were killers. But now we have a pandemic and a virus that feeds off of these weaknesses in your body. If there was ever a time to get your house in order, it is now. There is only one way of eating that is healthy, sustainable, and eco-friendly. Drum roll please…it is a plant based diet. Change to it gradually or all at once, it is your call. I personally went full on a full plant-based (vegan) plan for 2 weeks, then I broke and ate cheese. So, I suppose if you had to label me-I’m a vegetarian. My daughter still eats cheese, but switched to a plant based milk and gave up chicken nuggets (real ones). My son (who is 4) and husband still eat meat and dairy. We are doing 100 times better than we were before!!! We eat more fresh veggies and fruit and limit our consumption of animal products and sugar. It’s all about moderation, making good choices, and doing the best you can. I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard in the land of queso. Magnificent, glorious queso.
I hope that this sparks an idea for you and inspires you to make some positive changes during this crazy time!