What Sustainable Living Taught Me About Self-Care
The principles of permaculture — a philosophy that advocates sustainable, eco-friendly design and living — can be seen as guidelines for living a nourishing lifestyle, one that enriches you and gives you meaning. What can sustainable living teach us?
Here are 10 principles of permaculture that can be applied to all aspects of our lives.
1. Try to use your problems as resources.
If we look at a “problem” as a neutral element or even as a resource to be utilized, then we can shift our perspective and discover new remedies. Instead of worrying about the issues that arise in your life, try to see how that item, element, or energy in your life can be harnessed as a resource. You'll find yourself to be more productive and less stressed once you start opening your perspective and strive to make your lifestyle nourishing to you and others!
2. Make small and slow changes for long-lasting effects.
The pace of nature is slow. Looking for shortcuts to problems often disrupts nature’s chain of events leading to repercussions, both good and bad. For example, severely restricting your food intake to lose weight fast will only end up harming you in the long term. But making small, powerful changes to your daily habits will propel you towards health and keep supporting you on your journey to wellness.
3. Remember that everything has a purpose, and sometimes many purposes.
Every element has three jobs, and all jobs are accomplished by three elements. What about the elements of your life? This principle is quite an effective way of simplifying your life while also verifying that all of your needs will be met. For example, you can buy coconut oil at the store to use in cooking, as lotion for your skin, and as a hair de-frizzer. Olive oil and avocado oil do all of those jobs too. There's no need for an extra jar of lotion or multiple hair products, when you have natural oils in your home. When it comes to diet and lifestyle choices, this principle can help you make your decisions confidently and it will empower you to continue choosing nourishing behaviors.
4. Produce no waste!
Use and value renewable resources to minimize your impact on the environment. This principle drives creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness. One of the best places to start incorporating this principle in your lifestyle, is to minimize purchasing items in plastic bottles and instead choose glass containers and once you’ve eaten that pasta sauce or used all your coconut oil, turn your glass jar into a cup, a pen holder, a leftovers container, or one of many other uses. And what about all those food scraps you throw away every day? Try composting your vegetable kitchen waste with a worm composting system.
5. Use self-regulation and accept feedback.
Your friends and loved ones often know you better than you know yourself. Listen to what others have to say to you, but also designate times for self-reflection, so all of your decisions are true to your sense of self. Learn and grow from others!
6. Acknowledge and promote diversity.
With any vegetable garden, the greater the variety of plants, the greater the biodiversity in the garden, and the better the resistance to disease! Spice up your life with a broad range of foods, herbs, and activities to nourish every aspect of yourself, keeping your whole person in balance.
7. Catch and store energy.
Do you know someone who always puts you in a better mood when you're with them? Do you have a hobby, an exercise, or an activity that you turn to when you need a comforting, energizing boost to your day? Surround yourself with people who have a positive effect on your life and flourish together with them!
8. Keep and maintain records.
Keep a journal or diary of what works and doesn't work in order to improve and adapt to change in the coming years. Learning from our mistakes helps us grow stronger.
9. Integrate rather than segregate.
Bringing different aspects of your lifestyle closer together — while still maintaining boundaries — fosters greater self-awareness and confidence.
10. Creatively use and respond to change.
One amazing characteristic of humans is our ability to adapt! Think of mistakes as learning experiences that help you grow and become more informed about how the world works and how you personally fit into the world. What impact do you want to have on your world? Change can be an empowering experience if you have a positive perspective and openness to grow!