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20 Green Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Lifestyle

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20 Green Tips That Will Improve Your Health and Lifestyle

Making the shift towards an environmentally-friendly lifestyle can help improve your health and life overall, and it’s also a major boost to the world around you. Ditching unnecessary chemicals, unhealthy foods, unfriendly Earth practices, and bad habits/routines can all add together to make an altogether healthier you, whilst boosting the environment and ecosystem. Wherever you are in the world, the following 20 tips are all achievable endeavours. Some of them are even great fun! So indulge yourselves whilst we all fight for a Greener future.

1. Save Energy

    One of the most direct steps you can take to reduce the impact your lifestyle has on the environment is reducing the amount of energy that you use in your home. Along with making your home greener, saving energy has real, tangible benefits on your life in that it can save you money. Although some energy-saving techniques require some initial financial outlay, in the long-term the money you save can really add up.

    Some energy-saving home improvements you could consider include the following:

    • Use low energy light bulbs: Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) save energy and money – typically they use one-third to one-fifth electricity compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, and last eight to fifteen times longer. This is a no-brainer – get them fitted today!
    • Switch off appliances when they are not in use: Leaving electric items such as computers, audio-visual equipment, and kitchen appliances on “standby” uses electricity. If you are not using these appliances, you should switch them off completely. 
    • Unplug your charger when your phone, laptop or tablet is fully charged: Similarly, when your phone is fully charged, unplug the charger to conserve power. 
    • Insulate your home: Insulating your home properly can make heating much more efficient. Some local authorities offer insulation schemes so it is worthwhile to take the time to investigate whether you are eligible for free home insulation.
    • Lower your thermostat: Reducing the temperature on your heating system’s thermostat by a few degrees will, over the course of a year, reduce the amount of energy and money you spend on heating.
    • Wash your clothes at low temperatures: Much of the energy used in washing laundry is expended on heating the water, so always opt for a lower temperature when possible.
    • Line-dry laundry: Tumble drying clothes uses large amounts of electricity, so use a washing line or drying rack to dry your laundry more naturally.
    • Cover pans when cooking: Whenever you cook on the hob, always try to cover the pans – this reduces the amount of energy that escapes from open pans, plus the amount of time it takes to heat up food and boil water.

    2. Save Water

    saving water

      Saving water around the home is another way to reduce the environmental impact of your lifestyle and, as with reducing energy usage, can save you plenty of money.

      •  Use short cycles for washing clothes: Modern washing machines have an “Eco Wash” option you should take full advantage of.
      •  Fix leaks: Ensuring there are no leaks in your plumbing system – including pipes, taps, toilet cisterns – helps prevent unnecessary water wastage.
      •  Take short showers:  Hot showers are an incredible luxury, so don’t waste this by spending far too long in the shower.
      •  Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth: An often-forgotten habit that wastes litres of water. Turn off the tap.
      •  Install tap aerators on all your taps:  Aerators are cheap additions to the end of taps that reduce the flow of water while improving the pressure of a tap’s stream.
      •  Install a low-flow shower head: Low-flow shower heads work in a similar way to tap aerators – aerating the stream of water, improving pressure and saving plenty of water and energy.
      •  Boil only as much water as you require: Tea and coffee drinkers can help here! Be careful with those kettles.

       3. Cut Down on Fuel

      no gas today

        Whenever possible, avoid driving in a car. Local journeys can be made by walking or cycling, and always look for public transport routes when travelling further.

        Obviously, these options are not available to everyone depending on personal circumstances, but cycling and walking will keep you active and help the local environment.

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        4. Share Car Rides

          Following on from point 3, if you have to travel by car, investigate the possibilities for carpooling with friends and neighbours, sharing journeys for work and leisure, thus reducing the number of cars on the roads. Many busy offices actively promote such schemes so ask around to see if you can take advantage of this.

          5. Go Organic

          go organic

            The food we consume has a profound effect on the global environment – as the world’s population grows, the demand for food increases and the strain on ecologies and habitats increases. The issues around food production, supply, and consumption are extremely complex, but there are some considerations that could help reduce the environmental impact of what you eat while also offering a healthy lifestyle include:

            • Choose local, seasonal produce.
            • If you eat meat, reduce the number of meals containing meat you eat each week.
            • If you eat fish, choose sustainably-sourced species and fishing methods.
            • Try and avoid fish contaminated with mercury (the result of industrial pollution) – you can use the Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) guide to help you along.
            • Avoid food with unnecessary packaging, as this just leads to additional, unnecessary rubbish for your bin.
            • Always look for sustainable, fair-trade, environmentally-friendly food, as this helps the economy.

            6. Avoid Bottled Water

              Bottled water is inefficient, expensive, and produces large amounts of plastic waste. Instead, use a refillable water bottle and tap water; if you like you could use a water filter to cleanse the tap water and chill the water in the fridge. As the Mother Nature Network point out, the very concept of bottled water is failed due to our our ready access to perfectly healthy tap water.

              7. Ditch Plastic Bags

              plastic bag

                Plastic bags are appallingly wasteful to the environment. It is believed that 100 billion plastic shopping bags are used in America each year, and only 1-3% of worldwide plastic bags are recycled. This means a huge amount of waste, much of which ends up in the wild areas. You can read more worrying facts from Envirosax, but you can also help a great deal by using Earth friendly bags (such as paper, of Bags For Life), and recycle any old plastic bags you have lying around.

                8. Save the Bees!

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                save the bees

                  There are plenty of environmental initiatives you can take up, but one of the most important is the need to save our bees. These little beasts are vital to pollenating the Earth’s vibrant ecosystem, but they have been dying out due to the use of pesticides. You can help matters by purchasing Organic Honey (to support natural bee keeping practices), or donate to bee charities to help promote their wellbeing. Friends Of The Earth are currently offering a Bee Saver Kit to help keep your garden/environment bee friendly.

                   9. Use Charity Shops

                  charity shops

                    Charity shops provide a way to recycle any unwanted items, find second-hand stuff and, importantly, supports the charitable cause of your choice.

                    10. Use Freecycle

                    freecyce.org

                      Freecycle is an internet-based service and community that allows users to share and discover reusable items. Before making a purchase, check out your local Freecycle community to see if you can find the item free of charge, and if you have unwanted goods in your house, use the service to recycle them. It’s easy to use and helps both your local community and the wider environment.

                       11. Share and Borrow

                      I love sharing

                        Books, CDs, DVDs, and more can be borrowed from libraries and friends. You can cut down on packaging and shipping by simply renting or borrowing something, and you can return the favour to your friends to get some proper social interaction going.

                         12. Green Gifts

                        green gift

                          When giving a gift consider a greener alternative, such as making your own present, or offering some of your time and skills to do a favour for your friend or loved one. You can also use environmentally-friendly companies, such as the Eden Project (pictured above). Whichever country you are in there will be suitable sources, so do a quick search to find a unique present.

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                           13. Grow Food in Your Kitchen/Garden

                          Bottle_garden

                            Growing food saves money, gives you an understanding of food production, and puts you in touch with nature. There is, of course, the problem of having neither the time or garden space to plant and nurture a whole vegetable patch, so head for something simple such as potted herbs or a potato sack, which can be grow effectively on a windowsill.

                             14. Make Cleaning Products!

                            galleryimage208300217-aug-3-2011-800x536

                              Modern household cleaning products are expensive, and often damaging to the environment, so a great green alternative is to make some yourself. Safe and environmentally-friendly substitutes use ingredients such as baking soda, soap flakes, lemon, cornstarch and vinegar. It’s quick to find recipes for them on the internet; try EarthEasy for a helping hand.

                              15. Choose Plant-Based Cleaning Products

                              KitchenPods

                                If you haven’t got time to make cleaning products, you can make the switch to environmentally-friendly options instead. Brands such as Ecover are made from natural, sustainable, plant-based ingredients that don’t leave chemical residue behind, and are biodegradable. Very handy for both your crockery and the local wildlife.

                                 16. Buy Recycled Paper

                                recycled paper

                                   Modern recycled paper is perfectly acceptable for most everyday document and letter printing.

                                   17. Go Paper-less

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                                    If you want to go a step further you can choose to go paperless! You can receive all your bills and letters from banks, energy companies, and other service providers by email. And remember: don’t print off documents unless it’s absolutely vital. You can also help the process by recycling any paper and card you no longer need.

                                     18. Repurpose Household Items

                                    repurpose

                                      Everybody should be recycling household items, but this often depends on the recycling provisions available in your local area. Another option for avoiding throwing away household goods is to repurpose them – adapting them for a new purpose in life (like witth the tin can chair above). This could be anything from empty jam jars used to store other food, tin cans turned into tea light holders, wine bottles adapted to become attractive vases or lampshades, or any other example of repurposing your imagination and creativity allows. Popular social media network Pinterest has a regular stream of such ideas for inspiration.

                                       19. Celebrate the Green Way

                                      green birthday party

                                        Big celebrations in our lives are often associated with extravagance and consumption. You can keep this as it should be, but you can be Green whilst you’re enjoying yourself. For instance, gestures such as making invitations from recycled materials, asking guests to bring homemade food, and selecting local/fair trade foodstuffs can all go a long way. At the end of the party you can collect all the used goods and repurpose them into something extravagant, if you’re the creative sort.

                                        20. Green Holidays

                                        green holidays

                                          Holidays can have damaging effects on the places tourists visit via fuel consumption, damage to local habitats, pollution, and distortions in economies. When planning a holiday you should consider green alternatives, or consider a “staycation” by enjoying a local holiday, thus reducing the environmental impact of vacationing, and benefiting/engaging with your local community, ecology, and economy. Green Loons is a great place to start; they offer some amazing destinations with the feel-good Green factor.

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                                          Alex Morris

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                                          Last Updated on November 22, 2021

                                          Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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                                          Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

                                          Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

                                          During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

                                          But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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                                          Simplify

                                          I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

                                          Absolutely.

                                          And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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                                          If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

                                          • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
                                          • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
                                          • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

                                          Be Mindful

                                          You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

                                          Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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                                          Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

                                          Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

                                          Reflect

                                          As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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                                          Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

                                          But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

                                          So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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                                          Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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