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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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How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

Sight – Visual Stimulation

The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

1. Maximize your exposure to light.

Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

3. Take note of your environment.

Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

4. Engage in conversation.

Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

5. Listen to upbeat music.

Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

6. Work your nose.

Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

7. Have a good breakfast.

Start off with the most important meal of the day.

Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

8. Drink lots of water.

Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

Touch – Tactile Stimulation

Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

10. Splash cold water on your face.

Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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11. Use acupressure.

Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

12. Get moving.

Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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