In this time of uncertainty and loneliness, we can all do with some more positivity and inspiration. Living in self-isolation can easily make us feel tired and cheerless, unless we make the conscious decision to uplift ourselves (and each other). But how do we stop our days from blending into a monotonous flow of loitering around, yearning for what we wish could have been?
Here at TBYW, community and purpose stand at the heart of what we do. And while the current circumstances make it impossible for us to continue with our regular programme, we still believe in connecting with people and striving to live a greener life. Having to spend our days between four walls, however, doesn’t seem to provide many avenues for eco-activism. To make things worse, self-isolation can leave even the most dedicated of us feeling uninspired to pursue any idea.
While completely understandable, these feelings don’t have to shape our lives. Although many things lay outside of our control, this doesn’t mean we should let our dreams and aspirations wither away.
We believe that even in self-isolation, there are many ways to grow as a person and contribute to a greener planet. Through being kinder to ourselves and each other, we can still make our days count. Supporting a meaningful cause can help us re-ignite the spark time spent indoors has tapered.
This is why we provide you with a list of ideas that can help you survive self-isolation (and maybe even become a better person in the process). Whether it’s adopting greener habits, supporting those who have been affected by the crisis, or simply taking care of yourself, these actions are guaranteed to make you feel better.
So let’s use this time to grow, learn and lend a helping hand to each other (and the planet)!
Now is the best time to learn more about the environment. Use the extra time you have to pick a subject and explore it in depth – this can be plastic pollution, veganism, fast fashion or food waste. Alternatively, you can choose to learn a bit about each topic and improve your environmental knowledge overall.
There are countless resources you can use, from YouTube videos (if you’re looking for something simpler) to entire books (if you’re willing to dedicate the time). If you’re looking for a place to start, TBYW recently published a blogpost on some of the best environmental documentaries you can watch during self-isolation.
Practice some zero-waste cooking
The current situation means that we no longer have the excuse of eating out for letting food perish in our fridges. Yet, it is sadly ironic that so many people stockpile products during self-isolation. Now is the perfect time to get more resourceful with our cooking. Making all our meals at home means we can perfect our ability to use the same ingredients in a variety of ways. We can test which groceries go well together, and therefore become more efficient with our shopping.
Furthermore, we get to finally dig out those forgotten tinned beans and lentils from our pantries, and make good use of them. Learning zero-waste cooking is a fun (and delicious) process of testing out new recipes, and can be a nice bonding activity for you and your self-isolation partners. Best of all, you get to build sustainable eating habits that will serve you once life returns back to normal.
Support local businesses
In the current economic crisis, it’s the small businesses that suffer most. The street market grocery stalls, the corner pastry shop, the nearby family-owned Indonesian restaurant – these are the places that are most negatively impacted by the current lock-down. It’s up to us to support them with the way we spend our money.
Next time you’re having a pizza night, try skipping out on the Domino’s and the Albert Heijn frozen isle, and order from the local Italian deli instead. If you’re having takeout, opt for smaller independent restaurants. When you’re grocery shopping, go to the nearby street market (some of the stalls are still open!) or a small store in your area. Now more than ever, we can vote with our dollar (or euro) and save independent, family-owned businesses from extinction.
Upcycle and repair
Remember that T-shirt you wanted to crop? Or the old candle jar you meant to clean and use as a brush holder? These small DIY projects tend to fall on the back burner when life is in full swing, but self-isolation gives us the perfect excuse to get crafty. Not only does upcycling reduce the amount of waste we produce, it’s also a fun and light-hearted pastime activity.
Now is also a good time to mend any clothes or objects that need fixing. In normal day-to-day life, we often use the excuse of convenience to rapidly replace one item with another. With extra time on our hands, however, we can work on living more sustainably and repair what we already have.
We know, we know, self-care is such an overused term, you’re probably rolling your eyes just hearing about it. However, there is truth in the idea that we can only support others by helping ourselves first. Making sure that you’re in a good headspace and are feeling healthy is hugely important, self-isolation or not. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to self-care, and it’s important to find what works for you.
At TBYW, we made a video with our self-isolation self-care tips, which you can find below – from exercise to gardening to simply putting together a puzzle, this is a diverse set of ideas that can uplift your spirits.
When times get hard, it’s important to have a sense of purpose that keeps you going forward. Living sustainably and compassionately can do just that – help you get inspired, one step at a time.
© Rick Frausto