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Positive Parenting While Trying to Live Waste-Free

Positive Parenting While Trying to Live Waste-Free

One of the hardest parts about parenting is when things we’re used to doing suddenly aren’t as easy to accomplish. Whether it’s washing all the dishes, working on a DIY house  remodelling project, going for the daily jog, or getting in that hour of reading before going to bed, moms and dads everywhere can relate to this phenomenon in some way .

As someone who tries to lead a waste-free life, especially when it comes to food consumption and house utilities, the view isn’t that different. Living waste-free is rewarding because of the limited impact on the environment, but for various reasons it can sometimes take a little extra time and effort. When it’s just adults keeping track of things and staying organized in a waste-free lifestyle it’s a lot easier to manage, but when young children are part of the picture, adults no longer have free rein; suddenly we’re scrambling to stick to our ideals. As a new parent, this is something I’m learning all the time.

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At first we think we’ll get back to what we perceived as normalcy, but eventually reality sets in and we become accustomed to the fact things, for good reasons, will never be quite the same again. Nevertheless, finding a comfortable balance between what was and what is—in my case between living waste free and having to compromise on occasion—is a necessary challenge.

How do we cope with being parents and keeping up with previous levels of waste-free living until everyone is old enough to truly lend a hand?

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Consider the following:

  • Be patient: When kids arrive into our world it’s essential to remember that they are the boss in more ways than one, and while leading a similar life as before isn’t impossible, there will be new ways of getting things done with a different time frame. That’s why it’s important to have patience and remind ourselves that if things occasionally fall by the wayside ,we have the ability to pick it all up again down the road.

In terms of being waste-free, patience means not being too hard on yourself or anyone else and doing the best you can do. The environment will absolve you for being lackadaisical in your quest; people won’t be as forgiving.

  • Simplify: A big part of being waste-free means using reusable tableware, but when the kids are at the age where their hands are in everything, it doesn’t make sense to use the china and other family heirlooms and constantly be stressed out.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t make every effort to produce an amazing presentation, however, until the kids are old enough to be a little more responsible, keep it simple and have a second-hand set of dishes for those special occasions. When it’s no longer needed, this secondary set can be passed on or sold to someone else.

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Alternatively, it’s a good idea to have a back up plan when the reusables are out of commission. For example, although I may believe that living waste-free is important, having a few eco-friendly brands of disposables stashed away for “emergencies” is a smart back-up plan. When they are needed, biodegradable sets will lessen the blow when they are called upon to please a hungry family that can’t wait for the dishes to be washed.

  • Don’t give up: When the goal is zero waste, but there’s so much going on and life is taking over, don’t give up—be a leader and show kids how it’s an easy process on the one hand, but following through can sometimes be tricky. The key is persistence.

Things don’t always work out as we’d like but that isn’t a reason to surrender. It’s important to focus on the potential, and that a lack of success isn’t complete failure: merely a bump in the road to achieving our goals, and the only way to accomplish them meaningfully is to stay positive and never give up.

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Featured photo credit: Young, happy family in a room interior via Shutterstock

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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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