It's been Mental Health Awareness Week and I've been thinking a lot about my own mental health and eco journey and how the two have aligned.
If you've been here before you'll know that I'm Ruth, mum of Squishy and Red who are 4 and almost 3 and that having my Childebeests was the REAL starting point of wanting to be more actively eco friendly - for them and for the future of our planet.
But five years ago, when I was starting out, I was OVERWHELMED.
Mr Ecologico had just been made redundant and I was on SMP after two C sections and suffering with PND/PTSD.
I couIdn't find mums like me talking about eco-friendly living, just yummy mummies with tons of cash, ecowarriors living off grid and minimalists and it seemed EXPENSIVE and CONFUSING. In short, I thought it was a MINEFIELD and I thought I would really struggle. But instead I found lots of free/easy things to do and that actually it's really easy to make a BIG DIFFERENCE and actually living this way has DEFINITELY IMPROVED my mental health. I'm less anxious, less bothered about what other people think and a slower, simpler, more natural life has really helped me cope better.
So to busy, frazzled families like ours here's what I'd recommend: 💚Buy less stuff: borrow, swap or secondhand first. No resource for production, packaging or waste 💚Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without: the most sustainable stuff is the stuff you ALREADY HAVE 💚Try to use less energy: this can actually save you money. We have shorter/fewer showers/baths, switch off lights/unplug stuff, turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees and boil the kettle once and filling a flask or cook multiple things at once 💚When it comes to clothes, we buy second-hand, then mend and rewear. We wash less, with full loads, at low temps and using eco settings, and we don't have a tumble dryer either (much to our family's horror!). 💚We leave our phones on energy saving mode, unplug devices to evade vampire energy, defrost our freezer and clean our washer and dishwasher regularly to keep our devices working as efficiently as possible. 💚Switch and ditch: we moved to a money saving renewable energy provider, switched banks to an ethical one, switched to paperless billing and rejected junk mail... All done with a baby on the boob from the sofa, scoffing biscuits (breastfeeding and biscuits are optional! ). 💚I got into meal planning; now we've reduced food waste, save money at the supermarket and use homegrown or Olio hauls wherever possible. 💚Browse better: we changed web browser to Ecosia, regularly delete emails and unsubscribe from marketing that makes us want to spend! 💚Get outside more! Nature is free so we walk more. Take the kids to woods, parks or puddle jumping. It's brilliant for your mental and physical health and the environment and will save money too.
💚I personally felt like I didn't have money or time, but I did have my voice. I actually run a social media account to shout about eco life and what we do as a family, and blog about our experiences. I regularly sign online petitions and email our MP.
Yes, of course there are product swaps you can make to greener alternatives like soap bars or laundry products, cloth nappies and menstrual products, reusable cups and beeswax wraps and I can talk about them all day. But there's a TON of really impactful stuff you can do from home, from your phone and for free. I'll bet you actually do lots of this without even thinking!
According to Giki App our family carbon footprint is lower than the global average and target, and I'm a just normal mum...if I can do it, anyone can!
P.S. Always celebrate the little wins too! Chocolate is a great incentive🙂 If you're looking for more inspiration check out our other blogs, or if you're ready to make a few product swaps hit the shop.💚