We are stressed out. We are overwhelmed. We are multitasking work and life because we are completely overscheduled. Unfortunately, this way of life has translated to our children and we are all too busy to stop and redirect those poor kids to some quiet time.
Quiet time is something that most of us (over a certain age) automatically grew up with because we just had no choice…..there was nothing else to do. I mean, really. Go out a play was a daily phrase from our parents and there were no fancy gadgets – just a bike and a tree to climb.
But, I do not regret it one bit. It gave us a chance to use our IMAGINATION, to find peace and show GRATITUDE to our world and to look inward and SELF-REFLECT on our lives.
Quiet time is when you create order out of chaos. It rejuvenates your mind and body and helps you prioritize your to-do list. Maybe you realized that you haven’t taken care of yourself lately or you haven’t reached out to a friend or taken care of a messy file cabinet, whatever! Physically and emotionally, you must have quiet time for renewal. Think about it, even a machine needs time for maintenance.
Ironically, I am writing this blog post while my husband runs around clanking pots because he is brewing beer and smoking meat and my son is practicing his drums with the basement door open. I am just trying to listen to a little Paul Simon…
But, this is real life.
We must carve out time each day for that 15 minutes of quiet. Schedule it in just like you are supposed to be scheduling in your exercise and your healthy eating. (caught ya!)
If it seems like a daunting task to find quiet, remember that it is OK to say no. You do not need to overschedule yourself. Stop feeling guilty. You could also just ask for help. We all want to be useful and asking for help from a loved one will give them a great feeling…..and damn, it feels good to make someone else feel good! Be patient with others and give yourself grace. Life is messy, we all know that. #hotmess Remember, we are not alone and we do not have to do EVERYTHING. But, daily quiet time is good for your health. My quiet time is mostly outdoors, but I also enjoy a long hot shower. Whatever your quiet is, make it a priority.
Recently, my children have fallen off the chore wagon and been very lazy. One of the things I noticed when I started doing the chores for them ‘in their absence’ is how often I was taking out the trash. (side note – doing their chores is just temporary) I am also more aware of what I am throwing away.
Did you know that an average American can throw away more than 4 pounds of trash EVERY DAY? Let’s do some math (5 people in my house….)…..that’s an astronomical amount of trash being carelessly thrown away daily.
Recycling paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and metal has become such a normal part of our daily life, that when I travel to destinations where they do NOT have single stream recycling, I have anxiety about it. I see all the plastic bottles in the trash – the paper not separated – the cans and the countless beer bottles in with the leftover food. ARGH.
But even recycling isn’t enough. Items can only be recycled a certain amount of times and then they ultimately still end up in that landfill – ya know, the one we are now creating in other countries because we have no more room here in the US. Yup. That’s happening.
So, what can we do??? Here are some ideas that we do in our household, some tips I have learned from others and some tips I am planning on implementing myself:
Truly, this is an easy one. What the heck do we buy when we go to Target just for socks? How did I spend $130???
Check what your town takes and give them everything you possibly can. Reduce your footprint. It’s not hard to throw a bottle in a recycling bin instead of a garbage can.
Check out my nifty little metal compost bucket on the counter above. Cute, eh? All vegetable waste, eggs shells, coffee grinds, tea bags go into this little bin and then we take it outside to a compost bin in the backyard (creating black gold for our garden!) Win win!
I carry my beautiful Hydroflask with me everywhere. We are BFFs. Sure, it can take some time to get used to, but it’s worth it. And if you must buy coffee at a coffee shop, bring your own mug too. Lots of them have discounts for such conscious behavior. Pat yourself on the back and save some bucks too.
Oh lawdy, this one drives me nuts. With 3 kids and countless school lunches, I was just flabbergasted at the waste. Luckily, I know how to sew and made reusable sandwich wraps and snack bags. (that’s another story) If you can’t sew, that’s OK – there are tons of reusable containers you can use out there and tons of people like me that sell these sweet little items.
OK, I know this seems INSANE to many of you, but I swear it is possible! Mason jars are cool again! Use those instead. Or try those organic food wraps: (https://www.amazon.com/Organic-Reusable-Food-Wraps-Etee/dp/B077Z1VVLL/ref=asc_df_B077Z1VVLL/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=242028482092&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1683476599546539793&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9003217&hvtargid=pla-399261730470&psc=1) I have never tried them, but they look perfect! I have a DIY recipe for making my own beeswax wraps which will happen later in this journey. Basically, there are a bunch of other options.
Shopping in bulk is out there – look it up locally. Or at least stop using produce plastic bags. You can bring your own bags, sew your own or even purchase reusable produce bags along with your food wraps. Keep them handy (along with your coffee mug and water bottle!)
There are a ton of other ideas to reduce waste in the kitchen and home, but these are great stepping stones. Soon, you will see less trash in your garbage can and you will feel better about your impact on our world. For even more ideas, check out my Pinterest boards for Clean Living and Zero Waste at Heathersreallife https://www.pinterest.com/heatherranz/
Drop your own ideas below – lets get a list going!
I don’t know about you, but we are not a cold turkey kinda family. Five people is quite a bunch of personalities… so making lasting changes in our way of living is best done, one step at a time.
Simple changes are best. I do not recommend waking everyone up one morning and telling them that they are all now vegetarians. (that would NOT go over well in my household) I can see them all running screaming into the arms of the neighbors….
So, start small and go slow. I know you are super excited to save the Earth! But, we want these changes to last.
Our first change was simply with dryer sheets. I stopped purchasing the name brand product and just cut my own cotton fabric and made a quick mixture of white vinegar and essential oils. I decided very quickly that I was going to make one new change that day and I happened to be lucky enough that my son uses essential oils in his diffuser for his own peaceful mindfulness. Nice!
Here is the simple recipe we use to this day because it’s simple, effective and not at all overwhelming (sensitive noses in the Ranz household):
1/2 cup white vinegar
10-12 drops of essential oils (any mixture you want)
Mix together and put into whatever container you desire with a lid (I use a ball jar). Throw in your cotton sheets (tip: cut them with pinking sheers) and give them a shake up. When I use them, I put in 4-6 sheets (squeeze out extra liquid) depending on the child and the scent and my level of laziness. In case you were wondering what scents I use – I love the combo of bergamot and orange OR lavender and rosemary. Ahhhhhhh… It’s so simple! Then just keep returning the sheets to the jar and refresh when needed. Bam!
Wasn’t that easy? Did your kids notice? Did they run screaming from the household because their laundry was freshened in a different way? Of course not – sometimes they wear their pajamas to school. Dirty kids. Sheesh.
OK, you are now armed with a small change! Go out there and stick with that first small goal, whatever it may be, and then do some research on your next step. Ease the whole family into the big changes and leave no other options. ( If you stop buying the products, they will learn to survive. Promise.)
I hope this helps. We are still on our journey to making changes, but I have some big crazy plans. I would love to hear some of yours too!
Always be authentic – love, Heather
Hey there! I am Heather and I am so glad that you are here! As a busy mama of 3, I never had the time or energy to research ways to live a healthier lifestyle even though I knew we needed to change our ways.
Only in the past 3 years have we finally begun our journey towards healthier living. We started with healing our guts, and then removing harmful chemicals from our home. We also prepared cleaner meals and made our own household products. Now we are practicing more mindfulness in our favorite places like the woods or a backyard garden.
A blog was the only thing left to do to share what we have learned with everyone else!
I sincerely hope that this adds value to your life and helps you in a way that I needed when we first started our health and happiness journey!