Welcome back! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season (if you celebrate) and enjoyed spending time with your loved ones. The past couple of weeks have gone by in the blink of an eye, but I know that they happened because I feel more relaxed and rejuvenated than I ever previously have after a “winter break.” Instead of getting wrapped up in crazy gift-purchasing and endless amounts of unnecessary social gatherings, I consciously bought experiences for my family and balanced seeing people with lots of “me” time. This did wonders for helping me to avoid any feelings of stress or anxiety about the whole thing. Turns out, slowing down and simplifying things really does make a difference when it comes to our ability to enjoy the present moment! While I have read about this exact topic many times, it seems to be something that you can only truly understand when you experience it yourself. (You can have a little look at my Christmas in this vlog!)
Now that it is 2020, it is time to turn the page and look forward to the year ahead. And, of course, that means RESOLUTIONS. The topic of resolutions tends to be met with either an apathetic groan or a zealous passion. I can see both sides of the issue. Resolutions that fixate on what we’re lacking and makes us feel the need to become different people – yeah, those things I don’t have time for. But ones that inspire us? That help us to grow in mind, body, and spirit? That guide us to do a better job at caring for ourselves, the environment, and the other people who live on this planet? Yeah, those I love. So, in the spirit of things, here are my five conscious living resolutions for this year:
1. Diversify My Consumption of Books, Media, & Content
Last year, I read a broader array of books than ever before, thanks to being introduced to Libby, which enables me to rent e-books from my local library easily. Suddenly, almost every book was at my fingertips *for free*, which made it a lot easier to branch out and try anything that I was mildly interested in or was recommended to me.
This year, one of my main resolutions is to diversify the books, media, and content that I consume. It will take work (we all know the algorithms are set up to do the complete opposite of this); but, I believe it is worth it and necessary. Books, podcasts, films, articles, social media accounts, etc. all encourage us to see the world through someone else’s lens and help us to learn about new topics and issues. The last thing I want is to be solely consuming words, ideas, and content by people who look, think, act just like me. We all need to be challenged regarding our perspectives and world views, and there is no better way to do it than through learning.
Expect lots more content related to this throughout the year (I will be telling you about my reading challenge later this week!); but, for now, here are a few book lists and podcast recommendations to get you started.
2. Embrace a Plant-Based Diet
There is an overwhelming amount of research that points to the fact that a plant-based diet is better for both your health and the environment. Reducing your meat and dairy intake and increasing the number of plant foods you eat is one of the most powerful things you can do to reduce your impact on the planet. To help preserve the earth and our ability to feed future generations, we all should be eating half of the amount of meat we currently do, at minimum.
I am not planning on going fully vegan (yet), nor do you need to, but what we both need to do is intentionally reduce our consumption of meat and dairy products. For you, that might mean joining the Meatless Monday Challenge or completely cutting out red meat but eating white meat a couple of times a week or month. Alternatively, you may want to go completely vegan, pescatarian, or vegetarian. I want to eat primarily vegan at home and whenever possible when eating out or traveling, but I also want to eat fish occasionally! (Sushi once a month is necessary!) Luckily, the Internet is filled with delicious plant-based recipes to help us both reduce our meat and dairy intake.
3. Reduce Waste
Recycling is undoubtedly beneficial, but what we all need to do is to take steps to reduce the amount of waste we are producing in the first place. For environmental reasons, this is crucial, as we must conserve landfill space and the energy required for creating new materials. We only have a limited amount of natural resources on this planet and a limited capacity to process waste, so we all must do our part each day to help build a more sustainable future. In 2019, I dramatically reduced the amount of waste I produce in the bathroom (you can read the ten simple, sustainable beauty switches I made here) and I intend to continue making switches in all areas of my life. The kitchen is next, so we are starting to compost, and I am limiting the amount of food I buy in plastic packaging.
What I have realized from the steps I have taken so far is that reducing your waste can also have a positive effect on your finances. By purchasing only what you really need or reusing items, you can save a lot of money – making it a winning strategy all around.
4. Learn to Mend/Alter Clothes
At this point, 85% of my closet is thrifted or vintage (with the remaining 15% being fast fashion purchases I made 2+ years ago), so I definitely have the secondhand shopping down (if you need some tips take a look at this post). But, what I don’t know how to do is mend clothes which is crucial for extending their life-span. Most of the time, something is repairable, we just don’t want to (or care to) take the time to fix it. But, if you know how to repair your clothes, it costs nothing (except for time) to do it. Plus, it means you can keep wearing your favorite pieces over and over again.
I have a whole pile of pieces that need some TLC – like sewing a hem or fixing a button. We are talking about small things, but I don’t know how to do any of it! Learning to sew would allow me to fix these things instead of continually putting off taking them to an alterations place. And! If I learn the basics, I would also be able to make some changes to thrifted pieces that I find. Some pieces do need some professional attention, so I will want to find a tailor who can help me with those that don’t fit *quite* right; but, for the most part, I foresee just me and a needle and thread.
5. Get Involved
As conscious women living in 2020, I think we must get involved with a cause (or two) or commit to some form of activism. Unfortunately, with so many injustices and issues in the world, getting involved is the only way we can make our voices heard and do our part to bring about change. As an individual, you can decide what 2020 activism looks like for you. Take a moment to think about what issues you are passionate about changing. Do you want to help immigrants or protect marginalized communities? Work on a political campaign or volunteer for an environmental organization? You could help raise money for organizations that fund candidates or organizations that have lost federal funding (hello Planned Parenthood!)
I, like many people, struggle with depression in regards to the state of the world, and I think that it is only by getting involved that I am going to maintain hope. Last year, seeing so many young people taking action and getting *loud* helped me to believe that we are going to be able to solve these issues. Our individual voices mean far more than we realize, and the culture shift that is required is only going to materialize from individual action. This year, I am going to pick one or two things to get involved with (any more is too overwhelming) and commit to making activism a priority in my life.
Have you made any conscious living resolutions this year?
Let me know in the comments below!