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5 Steps To Living A More Eco-Friendly Life

5 Steps To Living A More Eco-Friendly Life

We all know about “reduce, reuse, and recycle,” but there is so much more that everyone can do to reduce their footprint on the environment and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

Such a lifestyle carries benefits beyond slogans of “saving the earth.” Sustainable living can save you a lot of money as you waste less energy and material goods, and certain habits can be healthy for you as well. Here are five simple yet highly beneficial ways that you can move towards a sustainable lifestyle which will help you and the planet.

1. Stop eating out

In 2015, Americans spent more money dining out than buying groceries for the first time since data collection began in 1992.

While eating out may be easier than cooking by yourself, it is a terrible habit. From an environmental perspective, takeout creates wasteful plastic containers. And, of course, there is the gas wasted driving to eat out when you could stay home and cook.

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But even if you are not interested in the environment, constantly eating out does a number on your wallet in the long run. You may not think about dropping seven to twelve dollars for a meal over the short run, but it adds up over time. Furthermore, a home-cooked meal will almost always be healthier than what you will buy from a restaurant.

Are you scared of cooking? Don’t be. There are plenty of websites online which can teach you easy recipes and help you to appreciate the benefits of cooking.

2. Go thrift store shopping

There is nothing more sustainable than taking one man’s trash and turning it into your treasure. And by going thrift store shopping, you are showing a true aversion to waste. Furthermore, you can support non-profit charities instead of large corporations which don’t have environmentally friendly practices. And there are the financial benefits of not spending $50 for a t-shirt.

It should be noted that thrift store shopping can be hit or miss, and do not be afraid to walk out of a thrift store with nothing. But you may find a full range of eco-friendly products including cosmetics and detergents. And if you want to find a good thrift store, then aim for one in an upper middle-class neighborhood like Trent Hamm suggests. These are the areas where people are more likely to throw out perfectly fine goods which you can use.

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3. Eat less meat

Note here that I am not suggesting you go vegetarian. Some sacrifices are too much.

But going meatless one day a week can help your health, and meat is an environmentally inefficient method of producing food. A cow can never produce as much food as the large amounts of corn which are used to feed it, and there is the problem of cattle methane production.

Eggs and nuts are a good, tasty source of protein which are healthier for you than steak. But don’t use fish as a substitute. Given the global overfishing crisis, eating fish is arguably even worse for the environment than meat. And if you absolutely cannot survive a day without meat, go with chickens over pork, and especially over beef.

4. Dry your clothes outside

No household appliance uses more energy than a clothes dryer, and it is particularly irksome when nature can dry your clothes for free.

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Now, hanging clothes outside may not be for everyone. You may not have enough space, or you may be afraid of animals coming by and messing with your clothes. There is nothing worse than seeing bird droppings on that shirt you just washed.

But if you have the space, try and test it out. You will be surprised at how quickly clothes can dry, as well as how good it can smell. And if you get it down once, then there are a lot of tips to drying clothes which our ancestors knew but which we have forgotten. Here is a series of tips which can make clothes drying easier and more environmentally efficient.

5. Go paperless

Humans cut down 15 billion trees each year for various reasons, and some of them are necessary for our civilization. But one use for trees which is less and less necessary is paper, as we rely more on electronics to read and obtain information.

But many of us still get catalogues, junk mail, and bills through the mail instead of electronically. This creates additional paper waste, especially since we toss those bills into the garbage instead of recycling them. Going electronic is simpler than ever, and is easier to track and keep records of compared to paper bills, which can be lost or shoved in some drawer.

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Another good way to save paper and money is to rely more on the library instead of buying books. Not everyone needs their own book, and sharing them through the library is better for the environment and spreads knowledge throughout the community.

Featured photo credit: phototouring via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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