Before social distancing became the new norm, our efforts to live more sustainably were almost always with the environment in mind. School strikes on Fridays, using your own coffee mug instead of a disposable cup, taking public transportation instead of driving your own car; each of these individual acts were part of a larger movement.
Being conscious of the Earth’s limited resources and limited capacity to absorb the byproducts of human life was a way to participate in the movement to sustain natural resources and protect the Earth from burnout.
Now, with several weeks of social distancing under our belts, as we strive to protect countless human lives, we must also consider how to best sustain ourselves. After all, our capacity and resources are somewhat limited when it comes to fighting the pandemic. The threat of burnout is just as real for humans as it is for the planet.
So, how can we keep our spirits lifted and continue to live sustainably? We can start by granting ourselves a bit of grace and seek solace in a variety of practices.
Bike Rides Feeling stuck? Many cities mandating social distancing rules allow for outdoor exercise, so hop on a bike! Nothing beats that feeling of freedom as you fly through the breeze on a bike powered by your own natural energy. Enjoy that fresh air and sunshine!
Baking The simple act of methodically following a recipe offers a beneficial distraction from circumstances beyond our control. Nothing beats the aroma of fresh baked goods while they cool on the counter, except perhaps the anticipation of enjoying those treats!
Books Set aside time to travel vicariously to a different world and lose yourself in the storyline of a great book.
Blankets Two words. Weighted blanket. The even distribution of weight allows the central nervous system to relax, and we promise, you will never take a better nap! Don’t own a weighted blanket? No problem! Fashion your own by folding a heavy quilt into two halves or four quarters and placing on top of a medium weight comforter.
Botanicals Even the tiniest plant can offer companionship, boost your mood and creativity, and raise oxygen levels. Remember, nurturing your soul with water and sunshine is just as important as caring for your houseplants.
Be Available Zoom happy hours and Google hangouts are not a replacement for actually seeing family and friends. However, spending even 30 minutes catching up with friends virtually can lift your spirits.
When all else fails, bring the focus back to simply being true to your most authentic self. If you are compelled to cook all afternoon or read late into the night, there has never been a better time to indulge your whims. These actions can result in a feeling of sustenance that feeds your soul, conserves resources, and most importantly will help maintain morale until we’re able to sit down for a meal together, grab coffee with friends, and gather in groups once again.