There are many people who are passionate about living a sustainable life and often consider how their actions impact the environment surrounding them. More and more people are taking this approach in their life and realising, how engaging in sustainable behaviours is also having a positive effect on them as individuals, too.
The health and wellbeing of a person are inseparable from the health of their surrounding environment, and the interactions between the two of them can be very complex. It is, however, possible to develop a broader understanding of how the choice we make in our lives to help take care of our planet is also a step in the right direction for taking care of ourselves.
Like sustainability, wellbeing is a forever ongoing pursuit that involves support from friends and family, personal reflection, and care form your surrounding community.
Below are some of the ways you can connect sustainability to the eight areas of our wellbeing:
Our Physical Wellbeing
Using alternative methods of transport such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, or even rollerblading are all heart-pumping physical activities that help to improve our cardiovascular health whilst still getting you to your desired location. So, as well as having a positive impact on your carbon footprint by minimising the use of cars and public transport we are also improving our physical health
If you aren’t able to commit to these methods of transportation or they are inaccessible to you, you also have a positive impact on your physical health and the environment by being mindful of your eating habits. This way, you’re able to fill up on nutritious foods and still reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. It’s no secret that plant-based foods generally have a much lower carbon footprint than animal-based foods, which is why so many people have started to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet. On top of this, a plant-based diet is packed full of minerals, vitamins, and proteins that your body needs in order to support you physical wellbeing.
Our Social Wellbeing
In a large community, you will find that pursuing sustainable goals requires a huge collective effort. If you’re working towards a sustainable life then you are most likely attending sustainable events, sharing information and news with friends, volunteering and building community connections. You can now even build a social network of people who also share similar goals and values online. Having this community and a good support system when you are experiencing frustration or burnout is an integral part of you prioritizing your personal wellbeing. You will find that members of communities who are actively seeking a sustainable life will be there for one another in a plethora of different ways. Its positivity impacts your mental wellbeing and also the community itself.
Our Mental And Emotional Wellbeing
Maintaining the vitality of our surrounding environment is not only beneficial to the physical health of a person but could also reduce the feeling of stress, which is one of the most commonly experienced things by people. Just taking twenty to thirty minutes of your day to walk or sit in a place where you are able to connect with nature has been proven to significantly lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Getting in touch with nature is taking a great step towards a sustainable future, and in turn, you will be experiencing stress-busting natural environments.
This is a great way to care for the environment as well as look after your mental and emotional wellbeing. So, why not go on a few family bike rides? Go for a hike, or walk to your destinations instead of driving? Camping is a great way to improve your sustainable living, especially if you like to take a few breakaways each year. Using firewood, no electric, and avoiding hotels, trains, and cars are all brilliant ways to take a step towards sustainable getaways.
Our Environmental Wellbeing
In simple terms, our environmental wellbeing is where we are mindful and focused on the space that surrounds us. It could be your bedroom, workplace, home, planet, school, etc. Think about how that space is having an impact on you. Thinking about this with a view to being sustainable and focusing on your surrounding environmental wellbeing may encourage you to use less of your time accumulating material goods. Instead, you will begin to invest some of your valuable time into having more space that brings you joy, happiness, productivity and comfort.
A lot of people who are aiming for a sustainable life have adopted a more minimalist lifestyle. Okay, so you may not be able to and not want to rid your space of everything that doesn’t bring you joy; however, taking the time to donate unneeded clothes, take down unneeded decorations or lighting, or cut down on the amount of ‘things’ that you collect in your home are all brilliant sustainable choices to make. These choices enable you to create a sustainable and decluttered, stress-free environment.
Our Spiritual Wellbeing
Spiritual wellbeing is the way that you understand and make meaning of what happens to you. It’s also what your mind goes through when it’s in need of relief or comfort. There is an organization that specialises in the association between increased levels of connectedness to nature exposure and nature with a stronger spiritual orientation. For some people, being in nature can provide them with a massive sense of relief or comfort that is connected to spirituality in many ways. For others, however, spirituality may be their way of finding meaning in their everyday actions or activities like taking the time to sit outside, or ensuring they are making sustainable choices like recycling or eating vegan.
Regardless of what impacts each individual, our natural environments provide us with a place for reflection and mindfulness. Having a commitment to live a more sustainable life can help to maintain ecosystems, so that they will always be here for us to know and nurture. Next time you take a walk, use it to reflect and find comfort within yourself.
Our Intellectual Wellbeing
There is certainly a lot of information now available regarding the state of our environment. It is constantly developing, and there are always new ways developing for us to achieve a sustainable life. The effort, time and work that you put in as a person to attend a lecture, read news articles or scientific articles on sustainability, or to attend local government meetings on sustainability, will all promote your intellectual wellbeing. It also enables you to have the power to disseminate factual information. Part of sustainable living is learning how you can make informed decisions both on a community and individual level. It’s one of the key components in creating an environment with the right changes that are impactful and positive. Of course, there are now many things that have been introduced into our world for sustainable living; such as food waste recycling, recruiting schemes in workplaces, cycle to work schemes, and promotion on eating green for more days of the week. However, these are all small changes that you can build on gradually.
Our Financial Wellbeing
Many of the sustainable behaviours that you adopt can actually save you money. They can also help to reduce some of the stress that can be associated with your finances. For example, making small changes such as sealing up air leaks through your apartment or house can save you around 10 to 20 per cent on your cooling and heating bill.
Thrifting is also a big one that many people have taken in their stride. It’s a great way to find inexpensive clothing and it has much less of an impact on the environment than buying new things. If you’re someone who likes to drink water from a bottle you may be surprised to learn that making a small change to using a reusable water bottle can save around $266 worth of plastic water bottles in just one year.
Our Occupational Wellbeing
Our workplace can be a difficult one, especially if they’re not on board with making sustainable changes. If we want to create a more sustainable working environment, then we need to make sure that we participate in any Sustainable Workplace programs. Think about creating a monthly sustainability meeting between colleagues if there isn’t one already, or host some training to share information on sustainability.
Taking these simple actions such as installing an acoustic wall panel or setting up a recycling station, can help you to create a set of shared goals within your working environment. It can also help to boost both individual and team morale. It doesn’t matter what career you are pursuing, there are many options and methods of getting involved in creating and implementing sustainable initiatives within the workplace.
As you can see from these eight areas, there are many ways that sustainability links with our wellbeing. As well as being good for the environment and our planet, it’s also good for ourselves.
Have you seen any positive impact on your wellbeing from living a more sustainable life? Please share your experiences in the comments below.