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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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