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Year of Wellness: Finding Balance in Environmental Wellness

Top 5 Tips to Enhance Your Wellness through Environmental Wellness Practices

Did you know that air pollution alone contributes to over 7 million premature deaths worldwide each year?1 As wild as that is, you may be thinking, how can I make a difference when we have the ultra-wealthy taking private jets everywhere and many large corporations are the source of a lot of these problems? And, in some respect, you are correct. One reusable bag will not save the planet, but if everyone worked together and held the ultra-wealthy a little more accountable we could make some change. 

But, I am not here today to preach to you about that. Although saving the planet is just a little bit important, you will probably get enough of that info this month from other places. I am here to show you the connection between environmental wellness and our health and well-being; how it ties into how we feel and how it can help us keep more money in our pockets. I will also go over some easy steps to help you on this journey.

photograph of calm waters on upper peninsula michigan in summer near sunset. evergreen trees line the shore line and water has perfect reflection of the blue and pink sky with whispy clouds, nose of the front of the canoe in the bottom middle. pristine environment

As a note: The content of this blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional before making any changes to your diet, exercise, medication, or other health-related routines.

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What is Environmental Wellness

Environmental wellness is about finding harmony between ourselves and the world around us. It involves the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil that our food grows in, the products we use; pretty much every aspect of our lives. What we do the environment directly impacts everything from our weather patterns to our health risks.

outside photograph of ocean and horizon at sunrise with shadow of female in front center looking at sunrise.

Why Is Environmental Wellness Important

If you turn on almost any news, you will probably hear about the ‘unprecedented’ situation of the day. Pollution, extreme weather, the latest health crisis. Every aspect of your life is being impacted by the destruction of our environment. I have heard ‘it will be the next generation’s problem’. The main issue with that is we are seeing the impacts today with alarming statistics. How many ‘once in a lifetime’ natural disasters have you been alive for? For me, It is too many. But I want to focus on one aspect, in particular, our health.

Environmental Wellness and Our Health

Rates of illness and disease are increasing across the board but at an alarming rate for young people in particular. Certain Cancers such as Colorectal and hormonal and autoimmune issues such as Hashimotos have seen dramatic increases for younger people. Although things like genetics can play some role in our health, many of these now show major links to the food we are eating, the products we are using, and the environment around us. 

‘Have you or a loved one been impacted by….’ I know we have all seen one of those commercials. I used to say that I was not worried or that it wouldn’t happen to me or that people were being dramatic. But, when my health declined and I made a conscious effort to change the factors I am going to discuss below, it was a night and day difference.

The True Cost of Toxic Products

One of the hardest parts of these changes was my realization that these products and lifestyles were the most convenient and often cheapest. We are consumed by ads and an allover push to keep doing what we are doing, despite all of the growing information against these norms. However, what I discovered as I progressed further and gained more information is that a lot of my eco-friendly switches in the long term saved me not only time, but also money, and most importantly my health.

My Top Recommendations to Practice Environmental Wellness

First, I want to reiterate the importance of finding balance and giving ourselves grace. Start to focus on what is good for your health and your wallet and naturally the benefits of the environment will follow. If on occasion you use a single-use water bottle because you forgot yours at home, you are still doing amazing and it is important not to be too hard on yourself. With that being said, let’s dive in and look at some easy places to start to benefit the environment, your wallet, and your overall well-being

1. Opt for Eco-Friendly/Ethical Companies and Products

Look for products labeled eco-friendly, sustainable, ethically sourced, or similar. These products are typically made with safer ingredients that won’t harm your health or the environment. Shopping local also generally has less impact on the environment and helps you to have a better chance to learn about what products you are purchasing.

image of the yuka app icon - food and cosmetic scan health and fitness app

Yuka is an app I use for Food and Beauty Products which tells you what chemicals are in the product and potential health risks based on studies done. Just like with anything, this app needs to be used with a balanced mindset in mind. A lot of these studies involve higher amounts of the ingredients so using one or two products with the ingredient may not pose much of a risk. For me, I avoid products that are potentially carcinogenic and/or hormone disruptors. 

There are also natural alternatives to a lot of the products you are using. Most cleaning products can be swapped for things like vinegar, pure alcohol, baking soda, and other natural products. You can find DIY swaps for almost anything that are still effective. With this make sure you are checking a few sources to ensure you are truly using safe alternatives.

2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We have all heard this phrase, but how can you truly apply it? Opt for reusable shopping bags, water bottles, and containers to cut down on single-use plastics. Recycle whenever possible to give materials a second life.

Try to donate rather than throw away when possible and buy what you can from thrift or resale places. I buy a lot of my products from thrift shops or used from Amazon or other retailers when I am able. You can find almost anything in thrift stores including clothes, kitchenware, furniture, decor, and more. Dedicated marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and eBay can be a great place to start. Not only does this save you money a lot of times, but it also gives products a new life.

clear tote with clothes in box and sign on front that says donate

If you have the time and skill, you can also mend/repair a lot of things you currently use to extend its life or repurpose a product if you no longer are using it for the original purpose. T-shirt has too many holes in it: turn it into rags. There are also a growing number of organizations or people that will take broken or worn products and reuse or restore them. 

Finally with this, when you are purchasing something, try to find things that are multipurpose and well-made. My Instant Pot for example saved me from buying a crockpot, air fryer, dehydrator, rice cooker, and more. It was a new purchase but it is energy, time, and money savings, increases my convenience, and is high-quality.

3. Regenerative Farming, Farmers Markets, and More

Did you know that if all farmers implemented regenerative farming practices we have the potential to reverse climate change? I was blown away when I first heard this in the documentary Common Ground

What is regenerative farming? There is quite a bit to it but in the simplest explanation, it is using practices that nourish the soil which allows for nutrient-dense foods to grow. It is also usually done without the use of chemicals such as pesticides.

farm in iowa at sunset in winter with some bare fields and some cover crop. horizon balanced in center with blue, pink, and orange skies with some clouds

Why is this important? Many of us are already not getting enough nutrients in our diet due to processed and convenience foods. Even if we are eating a balanced diet, much of the food we eat has less nutrients than it should as it is being grown in depleted soil. Then, many of the chemicals used can also negatively impact our health and overall environmental wellness.

Another aspect of this is animals. In industrial farming practices, raising animals for food is bad for the environment. They are also fed a diet that leads the meat to be high in Omega-6s v. Omega-3s and we do not get proper nutrients from the meat. The imbalance of your omegas can lead to a whole host of health issues. When animals are raised with regenerative farming in mind, they can graze the land, giving their meat a better balance of omegas. They become a positive contributor to the environment, rather than being a factor of climate change. And, it is so much better for the animal from a morality standpoint as well. 

Although many of us do not have the resources or knowledge to do these practices ourselves, we must support those that do. Go to your local Farmer’s Markets, and talk to people in your community who can connect you with local farmers who do regenerative farming practices to get your meats, eggs, produce, honey, etc. A lot of times, you will find that working directly with farmers helps you to save money as well. Some even offer online ordering and shipping for some situations. Many communities also have Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) boxes. To see what is in your area, click here.

There is also more talk on a push to make labeling of these practices more transparent in stores. Although it is always best to buy direct and local, that isn’t always feasible. So, keep your eyes out for signs in your local grocery store for “local”, “regeneratively grown”, etc. Additional tips on nutrition here.

4. Homesteading for Beginners

Okay, if you are on social media at all, you have probably been hearing the word homesteading.  For me, the homesteading practices I am talking about don’t require you to be a doomsday prepper, a stay-at-home parent, live on a farm, or anything along those lines.  There is nothing wrong with those paths if they make you happy and fulfilled, but sometimes I feel that the idea of homesteading practices gets lumped in with specific lifestyles.  It is for anyone, and it saves you a ton of money while implementing some environmental wellness practices.

As I mentioned above, simply starting with swaps like making your own cleaning products, mending your clothes, or making something from scratch you normally buy.  You can take it a step further by growing your own garden. Even if that means a few pots of tomatoes, peppers, or herbs. Anything makes a difference for your wallet, the environment, and your health.

photograph of homesteading homemade bone broth in mason jars with instant pot in background

What if I don’t have the time? I get it, we are all busy. And I know that sometimes it is not feasible to do everything by hand.  What I have found for me is that I first look at eliminating tasks that aren’t serving me. Then I find ways to streamline or simplify tasks where I am able. Next, I move on to finding changes that won’t take me extra time or that I can batch task. I then research things I do want to change and slowly implement those as time allows.  Finally, I find compromise. No one can do it all so put your focus and energy in places that are most important to you.

When DIY isn’t an option but it is something you still feel strongly about, reach out to others to create a community to help.  This can be your friends, family, neighbors, community, or anyone.  There are groups on a community level and even on social media that encourage trading services.  Maybe you are great at baking and you have a neighbor who is talented at sewing and another one who is an expert gardener.  Find ways to help each other and work together to all benefit.  Social Connection is also really important for our overall wellness.

5. Get Outside

Let’s finish up with a super easy one. Simply spend more time outdoors. Regular movement is vital for your health but it can also be great for the environment. Walking or biking instead of taking a vehicle to reduce emissions.  Taking your kids to a park reduces screen time and electricity usage.  Join a group picking up trash to get movement in while cleaning up your community.  Hang your clothes on a line instead of using the dryer. Even gardening is exercise while you are connecting with nature. Sun exposure is also great for your mental and physical well-being as well.

colorado mountains at sunrise.  Rays shining through the trees.

What Next?

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point, that is okay and normal.  You do not have to change everything at once!  Save the image below and check out my Instagram all this month as I will be going over each suggestion day by day and giving different insights and tips to help you get started with practicing more environmental wellness.

Also, here are some different product recommendations at different price points and time commitments that will benefit your health and the environment.  I have done the deep dives into this, that way you don’t have to. 

30 day environmental wellness challenge graphic with different suggestions on each day for 30 days. Day 1 read and article, day 2, use reusable cups, day 3 get a plant...

Conclusion

When you think of environmental wellness as the unity between your own wellness and the wellness of the world around you, it becomes much easier to find reasons to make changes in your daily life.  Even making one change is a huge step in the right direction.  

What do you still have questions about about environmental wellness?  Where do you want more support?  Let’s discuss and find ways to best support each other and our environment!

Top 5 tips to enhance your wellness through environmental wellness practices graphic. opt for eco-friendly/ethical companies and products. reduce, reuse, recycle. regenerative farming, farmers markets, and more. Homesteading for beginners. get outside.
  1. WHO. “7 Million Premature Deaths Annually Linked to Air Pollution.” Www.who.int, 25 Mar. 2014, www.who.int/news/item/25-03-2014-7-million-premature-deaths-annually-linked-to-air-pollution. ↩︎

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2 Comments

    1. Thank you! I will be posting about the challenge daily on instagram starting tomorrow if you want to follow along this month! I am glad you enjoyed the post and I appreciate you stopping by to read it! Have a beautiful rest of your week!

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