I love New Year’s Eve! There’s just something so special about it. It brings hope for a new start, new inspiration and a clean slate. But for many people it seems to have lost it’s magic- like so many over-commercialised holidays, people make the same old resolutions only to give up 2 weeks into the new year (exercise and weight loss anyone?)
2016 has been an interesting year, for me personally it’s been full of turmoil- taking over Sustainababy has been the start of an exciting new adventure and complete career change but it’s also meant a huge learning curve which I am still coming to terms with. Lots of health challenges including a back injury and significant challenges within our family have meant overall it’s been a tough year and this seems to be the general consensus with many people I speak to and the world in general!
I recently discovered that 2017 will bring with it the start of a new 9 year energetic cycle- what a relief! After some reflection, I really felt that over the last few years (or maybe 8-9 if I am honest) I have unknowingly created a pattern of Groundhog years, making the same mistakes, patterns and experiences over and over again.
This year, to save me from tears (had to throw that in, goodbye George Michael!), I’ve decided to break the cycle with a process called Conscious Completion. I downloaded a free workbook from Michelle House’s RICH Living, it’s a fabulous tool for reflecting and acknowledging the main events of the year and to move forward and create a fabulous year ahead. It even has some gorgeous colouring in as part of the process! It’s certainly going to be part of my New Year’s ritual from now on.
Here a my top tips for creating New Year’s Resolutions that will definitely make an impact and create a healthy you and healthy planet!
1. Don’t be an over-consumer! Buy less stuff. Yes it sounds simple, I know. It can be tough to resist those Boxing Day bargains and sales. Arm yourself with a list (I love lists) of what you need or what events and birthdays you have coming up so that you minimise unnecessary consumption. Not only will this save you money, you’ll end up using fewer resources and creating less waste. Consider investing in good quality items that are built to last.
2. Plastic is not so fantastic. It can be mind-blowing when we consider how ingrained plastic use is in our modern lives- it is everywhere! Rather than get overwhelmed with guilt or give up because it’s too hard, pick one area to focus on. It might be disposable packaging, plastic bags, water bottles or straws. Start working on one habit until it becomes second nature. Then move on to the next habit. Being a working mum, I was constantly forgetting my reusable shopping bags so I started hanging them on my front door or putting them back in the car as soon as I unpacked the shopping to get into the habit of reusing them. I use them everywhere now, not just for groceries. I am on a mission to get everyone reducing their plastic use, for the sake of our health, that of our children and our planet.
3. Reduce food waste. This is a big one. As a nation we throw out 4 million tonnes of food each year which equates to 1 out of 5 of our shopping bags and between $1000-2000! What could you do with an extra $1000 rather than throw it in the bin? Ozharvest have some great tips and resources for reducing food waste. Meal planning can also help maximise what you use- I really love Quirky Cooking and Forever Organised for meal planning tips. Creating a compost, worm farm or keeping chickens can be great for reducing food waste too- so why not look into these useful, hard working pets?
4. Look at your carbon footprint. Think about your home, are there any air leaks that need fixing? Insulation, solar panels, switching off unused power all adds up throughout the year. The summer season is a great time to get those home maintenance jobs done, you’ll reap the benefits all year round. It’s also a great time to ditch the car and walk or jump on the bike- you’ll top up your vitamin D (whilst still being sun smart of course) and get some exercise as well not to mention the positive effect on mental wellbeing as well. You don’t need to join a gym to fulfill your health goal resolutions, just creating consistent habits, perhaps meeting up with a friend and walking to the park for the kids to have a play can be a great solution?
5. Eat local. Source food from local farmers if possible. Support ethical, organic food businesses. Eating wholefoods actually simplifies your lifestyle because it eliminates the majority of commercially produced supermarket ‘food’ that’s laced with additives, preservatives, flavours, colours and other nasties that adversely affect our health and that of our children. Avoiding these items will naturally produce better health and weight loss to some extent.
6. Ditch the antibacterials. Somewhere along the way, we became obsessed with cleanliness, perhaps because it is supposed to be next to godliness? Triclosan, which is one of the main antibacterial agents used in many hand soaps and personal hygiene products is a known hormone disruptor, it pollutes waterways and may lead to antibiotic resistance, however there are at least a dozen other similar agents in use. In the US, many of these have now been banned These haven’t been proven to be more effective at reducing illness so good old soap and water is still the best choice. I really love Nature Direct’s EnviroMist sanitiser (for those public toilet-no soap emergencies) or Squeakie hand sanitiser but most of the time, we love our faithful Dr.Bronner hand soap with some essential oils.
7. Fragrance that’s not so fragrant! Did you know that most households are full of everyday items containing secret ingredients that do not require disclosure? These items (if they are mentioned at all!) are listed simply as ‘fragrance’ and are commonly found in perfume, air fresheners, scented candles and reeds, shampoos and body lotions including baby & children skincare, laundry and household cleaners. The main problem ingredients are phthalates and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), both of these have been associated with health problems such as birth defects, cancer, respiratory irritation and neurotoxicity. For women in their childbearing years and young families especially- I believe it’s best to avoid the unknown and stick to basic, essential oils and good old fashioned baking soda and vinegar.
At Sustainababy we are very proud to be very picky about the products we allow into our range, we hand pick quality, safe, natural & sustainable items. We only stock items that we use in our own home. It’s a sad fact that green-washing has caused a lot of confusion about what is truly natural and safe- the supermarket shelves are full of supposedly natural products with cleverly labelled misinformation. These days I pretty much skip the cleaning and skincare aisles altogether, the fragrances actually make me sneeze and irritate my eyes, I hold my breath as I walk past. I’m really enjoying using essential oils and a variety of uses and recipes for them. My fave resources are definitely twenty8, DoTerra and Young Living. This has actually saved me a lot of money from my regular shopping as I usually just buy in bulk from other work from home mums which I love.
8. Is your grass really greener? One disturbing hazard that is commonly used is pesticides, particularly glyphosate. Pesticides have been shown to harm human health as well as the environment, including being linked to the massive decline we are seeing in bees, frogs and butterflies- a message from nature that we need to change. They have been shown to cause dizziness, headaches, fatigue, nausea, birth defects, learning difficulties, reproductive problems and cancer. We see an abundance of these issues in our society and yet ’round-up’ is used in our gardens and playgrounds without a second thought. Our children are exposed to pesticides without our consent or knowledge and I think it’s time we got angry and demanded accountability. I really love the movement organised via change.org petitioning local councils to stop using glyphosate in our local parks- a true movement for impacting change. The Documentary ‘What’s With Wheat’ by Cyndi O’Meara from Changing Habits also has some great information about the story of wheat, pesticides and our gut health.
Wishing you a Happy, healthy & sustainable New Year. Would love to hear your comments and tips for a truly Happy New Year!