Why Sustainability Should Be Part of Your Wellbeing
Recently, there are 2 words – or rather ways of life – which have received more attention than ever. Wellbeing and sustainability. While the meaning of both phrases is vast, and difficult to sum up in a sentence or two, these days we associate certain qualities to each word.
How do we define wellbeing and sustainability?
Wellbeing centres around us as humans and as individuals. Finding wellbeing is often considered as finding health – both physically and mentally – and happiness in life. From a health perspective particularly, self-care is synonymous with wellbeing. There are many activities suggested to improve wellbeing. For example, yoga, meditation, journaling, exercise, a balanced diet, and giving yourself some ‘me’ time. In a sense, wellbeing as we know it focuses on looking after our minds and bodies.
We often link sustainability to the environment. Living sustainably focuses on adapting our lifestyles to be more eco-conscious. It is the idea of altering our lives to better sustain our planet, without reducing the quality of our own lives or the lives of future generations. Humans and nature living in harmony is a way I like to think of it.
For the most part, the 2 concepts seem to be distinct from one another.
They shouldn’t be separate.
@np.illustrates on Instagram did a great post about how our 3 homes are our minds, bodies, and Earth.
Nature has always helped my wellbeing. Being outside in the fresh air has such a positive mental health impact. I find it so refreshing and a chance to clear my head and find space.
Being out in nature such as exercising outside, appreciating plants and animals, gardening and/or growing your own is suggested to improve health and wellbeing. Indeed, organisations such as Mind widely recommend ecotherapy as a valid wellbeing technique.
Benefits include reduced stress, anxiety, and depression, while boosting mood and confidence. Physically, fresh air provides us with better oxygen levels, cleansing our bodies and lowering blood pressure. More oxygen also aids digestion, boosts the immune system, and releases those positive endorphins.
Nature does so much for our wellbeing, our minds and bodies, two of our homes.
Yet despite how much nature does for us and how integral it is to our wellbeing, and more crucially, survival, we don’t do our best for nature.
Environmental issues like never before
Reflecting back on the @np.illustrates post, Earth is the home that we take the least care of. Despite this, we expect so much from it and push it to the extremes.
- Global warming is an ever-growing issue
- Our main forms of transport emit greenhouse gases and toxins into the environment
- The fashion industry is one of the worst polluters. Countless amounts of poor quality, fast fashion clothing is produced and thrown away. It can take 20,000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans (Oxfam, 2019). The horrors of fast fashion are never ending.
- The consumption of single-use plastic and other materials is at an all-time high. These find their way into the environment such as the ocean and animal habitats.
- We over consume meat and fish, with many animals being kept in poor conditions
- Chemical use damages the environment. Fuels, cleaning products, beauty products, industrial waste, pesticides in food production. We are responsible for exposing our planet to harmful toxins.
- Forests are being cut down everyday to make way for human requirements, destroying wildlife habitats.
This is hardly scratching the surface. You only need to do the smallest amount of research to see how modern living is harming nature.
It’s time to add sustainable living to our wellbeing routines
Nature is our home as much as our bodies and minds. The Earth is our home, our habitat. It allows us to live. Add on all the incredible health and wellbeing benefits, nature is truly incredible.
This is why sustainability is a part of wellbeing for me, in the same way as any other wellbeing practice.
Sustainable living is our chance to practice wellbeing for the Earth, one of our homes.
Next time you are outside and enjoying nature, take a moment to reflect. If you are thinking about how your time in nature has had a positive impact on you, take the time to also think Am I having a positive impact on nature?