As human beings, we are constantly changing and refining things about ourselves. This month, I’ve made a few small changes that I’ve really enjoyed and feel have contributed positively to my life.
Let’s dig in:
ONE / Reducing my plastic use.
Changing habits to reduce plastic usage is a very “hot topic” online lately, and I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. While I still have far (very, very, very far) to go, this month I made a concerted effort to make a few tiny changes in my everyday life that reduce my plastic consumption and contribution to our world’s landfills.
My primary emphasis so far has been on changing how I consume food and drinks when I’m in the office at work. On a standard day, I will at minimum have one hot beverage and one cold one (sometimes more!). Before, I would grab a Styrofoam cup for my coffee or tea, and the equivalent of a Red Solo Cup for my water. All of this added up around 10 plastic/Styrofoam cups going into the garbage per week = 40 per month = 480 per year. That’s a lot of cups!
I finally made the effort to bring in a favorite cup (I swear by Tervis tumblers!) and a hand-painted mug I purchased from a local art fair. It’s been an easy transition to drink out of reusable containers, and I actually find I enjoy the ritual of having to take a moment away from my desk to wash out my cup and mug.
Finally, I’ve switched to using reusable silverware at work. While this, too, is far from perfect (for example, the yogurt I’m eating is in a single-use plastic container), I am still proud of small, tiny steps. The best advice I read recently on changing your lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly was from this post, which recommended selecting one small change and focusing on it until it is a normal part of your routine. Small, steady changes seem to be working for me in this regard!
TWO / Switching to tea instead of coffee.
Earlier this year, I realized that drinking coffee was having a negative effect on the way I felt. Even after just a few sips, I would often feel shaky or on edge; the caffeine also seemed to significantly increase my anxiety. These feelings often lasted for hours and would throw off my day.
I’ve recently switched to tea (both green tea and black tea) and find that the small amounts of caffeine present in these drinks don’t trigger these feelings the way coffee does. All my life, I never thought I liked tea, but it is safe to say I’m newly addicted! Doctor up your black tea with some milk and sugar and it tastes wonderful. I’ve also been enjoying a cup of decaf black tea right before bed.
THREE / Talking less about my fears.
Have you ever heard the saying “What you feed, grows”? I have a bad habit of being very indulgent towards constantly discussing the things I’m worrying about or afraid of. While sometimes this can be comforting, more times than not it only leads to us ruminating on the problem more than necessary. It’s also great to be able to manage on your own, without always having to rely on others (although it is of course necessary and wonderful to have people on your side!).
With those thoughts in mind, I’ve been making a concerted effort to not have to hash out each issue in such excruciating detail. It’s helped me realize that most issues aren’t really worth talking about, and I am better able to manage my worry when I keep the thought that “everything will be okay” in the front of my mind rather than indulging the thoughts. I’m proud of this change and hope to continue practicing it!