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14 Easy Ways To a Greener Lifestyle in 2014

14 Easy Ways To a Greener Lifestyle in 2014

You don’t have to knit your own patchouli-scented yogurt and start raising llamas in order to have a greener, more Earth-friendly lifestyle. Sustainable living isn’t about dressing in hemp and reeking of self-righteousness, and it doesn’t mean turning into a folk-music-loving, car-abstaining carbon warrior. It isn’t about radically changing who you are. But you can change a few things you do, to benefit both you and the world we live in.

1. Save on grocery bills.

How often do you get home from the grocery store, having spent another hundred bucks to load up your fridge, only to find you’re chucking out a bag of slimy lettuce that never met a fork, or some lunch meat that’s turned iridescent blue? Make a list, stick to it and be sure to eat what you’ve bought before your next trip to the store. Food waste costs you and the planet, while throwing money at multinational producers and retailers.

2. Not quite freeganism, but—

If there’s a dented box of cereal or a can of baked beans with the label partially torn off, does it makes a difference to the stuff inside? Probably not. Look for items that might be marked down—often just before closing time—to stock your cupboards or freezer and save it from going to waste.

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3. Freeze it/Preserve it.

While you’re at it, why not make use of that freezer by stocking it with more than just ice cream. Cook up a big batch of chili or a pasta bake and freeze it to save you time in the kitchen in the future. Or bulk-buy fruits or vegetables that can be canned as jam, chutney or preserved for making a marinara or bbq sauce later.

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    4. Grow it yourself.

    Whether you have just enough room on your windowsill for a few herbs or a backyard just waiting for you to get digging, make 2014 the year you start growing. There are countless websites with advice on what time of year is best to plant certain things, what kind of soil or extra nutrients they need and when and how to start harvesting.

    5. Set and eggsample.

    Now, not everyone should try raising chickens. If you’re not going to take care of them by building a predator-proof pen with room to roam, or make sure they have a comfortable place to sleep and lay their eggs (that you clean regularly), or enough food and water, don’t bother; but that’s about all chickens need to be happy egg-layers. They’re generally quiet and pretty low-maintenance, and you can learn everything else you need to know through publications such as

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    Your Chickens magazine. (Yes, there really is a Your Chickens magazine).2632524020_fe557e500d

      6. Go to the source.

      Most towns and cities have a regular farmers’ market, where shoppers can buy right from the producers. This supports local growers and vastly decreases the food miles (and carbon footprints) that build up when consumers buy out-of-season fruits and vegetables shipped from the other side of the world. The produce is fresher, tastier and you get a better selection, plus you can ask about growing methods (is it organic or treated with pesticides or herbicides?) and discover new varieties and cooking ideas.

      7. Picnic with a difference.

      If you live in the country or make weekend escapes to the great outdoors, look for wild foods growing in public areas. Roadsides—unless they are quiet back roads—aren’t ideal for picking berries, fruit or wild salad greens, but you can forage your heart out in parks and other public land. If nothing else, the fresh air and exercise are good for you!

      8. Pedal power.

      If you don’t have a bicycle, rent one to see what style of bike suits you best. Riding a bike is good for your health and the planet’s.

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        9. Car pool.

        Can you share rides to work? If you’re nowhere near public transportation, you might find like-minded individuals willing to share a lift and cut down on emissions.

        10. Walk the walk.

        Do you really need to drive everywhere? Whether it’s deliberately taking a space at the far end of a parking structure, finding a pedestrian-friendly way of getting to work or just getting out for an evening stroll—yes, even in the snow—walking is a safe cardiovascular workout that’s as easy on your joints as it is on your environmental impact.

        11. Energize your living space.

        Homeowners waste a huge amount of money on inefficient houses. Do an energy audit to find out if your windows and doors are sufficiently sealed, if you need newer/more/different insulation and if there are other energy-saving changes you can make. Cut your bills while giving Mother Nature a break.

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        12. Don’t just dump it.

        Rather than sending an old appliance or piece of furniture to an incinerator or landfill, can someone else make use of it? Is there a housing charity, secondhand store or message board where your castoffs can find a new home? Alternatively, you might find free beach chairs, a grill or some curtains on Freecycle or a similar site.

        13. Watch what you wash—and dry.

        Make sure you’re not doing small loads of laundry and don’t wash it on a higher temperature than is necessary. Can you hang clean laundry on a drying rack or clothesline? You’ll save money without wasting energy.

        14. Get creative.

        There are countless ways to contribute toward greener living. Whether it’s sharing your skills, getting the message out, starting a car pooling or local recycling group, small steps can add up in big ways.

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          Last Updated on September 20, 2018

          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

          How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

          Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

          If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

          1. Breathe

          The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

          • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
          • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
          • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

          Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

          2. Loosen up

          After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

          Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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          3. Chew slowly

          Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

          Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

          Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

          4. Let go

          Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

          The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

          It’s not. Promise.

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          Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

          Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

          21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

          5. Enjoy the journey

          Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

          Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

          6. Look at the big picture

          The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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          Will this matter to me…

          • Next week?
          • Next month?
          • Next year?
          • In 10 years?

          Hint: No, it won’t.

          I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

          Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

          7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

          You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

          Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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          8. Practice patience every day

          Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

          • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
          • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
          • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

          Final thoughts

          Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

          Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

          Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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