New Year, New You: 3 Ways to Live Mindfully in 2021
New Year Resolutions are one way of hitting restart and trying to do better. How about living more mindfully to help people and the planet?
You may not feel up to it, after a year of emotional and financial strain like no other. But giving back to the community and the planet doesn’t have to be hard, inconvenient or expensive! In fact, living mindfully will often improve your own wellbeing and sense of happiness, kind of like how a chai latte really hits the spot.
Here are three small ways you can be more socially conscious in your day-to-day decisions, from cheaper electricity bills to buying socially conscious toilet paper (no joke).
Buy and Give Items That Save Lives
What about buying your essential needs, or even presents from charities, social enterprises or other responsible organisations? Check out some of the ideas below.
- Toilet paper from Who Gives a Crap. Half of the company’s profits go to improving access to clean water and sanitation. A great way to stock your own shelves even give to someone else as a COVID-friendly present.
- Zeroco subscription for your bathroom, laundry and cosmetic needs, like shampoo and detergents. Zeroco uses 100% recycled plastic, and mail refills when you run out of anything. Think about how many packets, tubes and containers you go through. Now, think about replacing all that with their refill system of just one bottle/dispenser and one refill pouch for each item. A lot of waste off your shoulders, isn’t it?
- Socks from the Conscious Step. Their socks are patterned with the cause your purchase supports - from ending world hunger to stopping deforestation.
- Buy from the Bush is an online network for reaching businesses based in the country. It’s worth buying from them what you can - many of these families were hit by the bushfires, then COVID.
Lend a Hand
If you’re on a tight budget, can you give your time? You can help people going hungry by volunteering at a soup kitchen. If you’re a good listener, you can have a coffee with people in aged care, in person or remotely. You can do this with an organisation like Helping Hand, who are trying to give aged care residents a better life.
Giving up your time doesn’t have to cost you. In fact, if you talk to many volunteers, it’s a chance to form lasting friendships and improve their mental wellbeing. It’s always a good time to stop and work on your mental health. Volunteering can also help your career.
For example, volunteering with Rotary, a community service organisation, will also help you network and develop the right skills for your career.
Use Services That Empower People and Save The Planet
Just like shopping mindfully, you can choose services that help people. Many of these services, from rooftop solar to customer-owned banks, will also be better priced than the popular retail options.
- Smaller waste, smaller bills - most homes can be retrofitted to be more water-efficient or energy-efficient. A more efficient home will also reduce your water or electricity bills, so it’s a win-win. If you don’t own your home, is this something you could bring up with your landlord? Or if you live in an apartment or townhouse, can you bring it up with your neighbours and put something together? Or even your local council? There’s always something you can do!
- Bring me the horizon - live off renewables, like wind, solar or batteries! You may be able to switch energy through your provider. Or, you could go a step further and get your own solar! Solar is one of the cheapest energy sources. Australian roofs get enough sun that many make a profit, rather than getting charged, for their electricity. You can get panels for your own roof, invest in community solar or wind turbine project, and so on. Check out what options there are for your state or territory.
- Bank mindfully - has your bank been involved in scandals, or funded the fossil fuel industry? If so, your bank is also probably charging you more than you ought to be paying. This is because the smaller, customer-owned banks have a business model that values treating you with much higher respect than the big retail ones. The retail ones are the best known and most popular, so they get away with overcharging.
Check out some customer-owned (aka mutual) banks like Bank Australia, Teachers Mutual Bank and Beyond Bank. Unlike retail banks, they aren’t driven by profit. Switching banks is easier than you think. If you have a home loan, you can save thousands every year by switching. There is no better time to switch, as the pandemic has made interest rates drop to an all-time low.