Challenging times have more people seeking self-care activities to improve their mental health. However, you don’t need to sacrifice eco-friendliness for enhanced well-being. Plenty of sustainable ways exist to take care of yourself without hurting the planet. Here are 10 tips to ease your troubles sustainably.
1. Start Your Day With Organic Tea
Drinking hot tea is an excellent way to warm your body and relax. A recent study found that consuming three cups of green tea weekly reduces depression by 21% in Japanese adults between 20 and 68 years old.
Make it sustainable by searching for an organic, fair-trade tea brand to ensure the highest quality, equitability and eco-friendliness.
2. Mix a Face Mask
Exfoliants and face masks from the store often contain plastic microbeads that pollute waterways and contribute to plastic pollution.
A sustainable alternative for a home spa day is making your own face mask with everyday ingredients. If you’re lucky enough to have a massage chair or simply a space to spread out, then this can multiply your relaxation.
For instance, oatmeal is a popular face mask ingredient containing anti-inflammatory properties that soothe itchy, dry skin. Others might include honey or coconut oil.
3. Make Homemade Soaps
You can even make homemade soaps using aromatherapy essential oils and natural ingredients. All you need to do is melt a plain glycerin soap block and add oils, dried herbs or flower petals. Pour the soap into molds and allow it to cool and harden for several hours.
Lavender is especially popular for reducing stress and anxiety. Lather your body with handmade soaps during a hot shower to unwind.
4. Go for a Walk
Some people struggle to get out of bed with poor mental fitness. However, physical activity releases endorphins that make you happier and give you energy — so get moving to care for your mind and body.
One sustainable idea is to walk outside in nature, which research has shown positively affects your mood. Keep it exciting by searching for a park or hiking trail you haven’t walked before.
5. Spend Time in Nature
There’s a reason why nature is good for your mental health. Trees produce phytoncides — volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are actually good for you. Humans reap the benefits of nature by inhaling phytoncides, mainly when it’s warm outside.
You just need 30 minutes in nature to lower your cortisol levels, regardless of whether you walk or sit. Phytoncides also increase immunity-boosting white blood cells to keep you physically healthy.
6. Give Your Home a Deep Clean
There’s nothing like clean surfaces and a fresh scent to pull you out of a slump. However, commercial cleaning products often contain hazardous chemicals that enter waterways and could harm your health when inhaled.
Consider making chemical-free cleaners that are just as effective at giving your home a deep scrubbing. Baking soda, white vinegar, lemon juice and essential oils are all you need for an all-natural cleaning solution that removes dirt and grime in a cinch.
Researchers have indicated that acts of kindness help build social connections and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression more effectively than traditional cognitive behavioral therapies.
Why not participate in a park clean-up or help plant trees throughout the community? These environmentally-friendly volunteer activities reduce pollution and improve air quality while boosting your mood.
If you’re someone that looks forward to the annual spring cleaning, you’re not alone. The American Cleaning Institute says that 78% of American spring clean at least once yearly.
Decluttering provides mental clarity for many people and reflects shedding whatever is dragging you down. It’s also a sustainable self-care activity. Rather than contribute to the landfill problem, you can donate your gently used items to someone in need.
9. Quiet Your Thoughts
Of course, meditation is one of the most effective and sustainable ways to care for your mental health. Meditation doesn’t require anything aside from sitting and focusing on your breath.
Some people also find that gentle movement — like yoga or walking — and calm activities like gardening and watercolor painting also help to induce a meditative state of relaxation. With enough practice, you can train your mind to relax at a moment’s notice.
10. Indulge in a Good Book
When was the last time you read a good book? You may even have a pile of unread novels in your room. Reading encourages you to escape the real world and forget your troubles.
Consider investing in a digital reader to reduce the number of print books. Though estimates vary, some suggest that one tree produces 25 books, meaning the book industry could tear down 3.4 billion trees for book production in the next decade.
Take Care of Yourself Sustainably
Whatever your self-care routine looks like, you can always make it more sustainable to improve your mental health without causing environmental harm. Do good for the planet as you heal your mind and body.