Part 6: Environmental Wellness
When was the last time you thought—really thought—about your environment and the impact it has on nearly every aspect of your life? The quality of the air you breathe, your exposure toxins, and the cleanliness of your water are just a few of the many environmental factors that impact your well-being every single day.
Unfortunately, many people have resigned themselves to the belief that environmental wellness is out of their control.
But not you, Bloomer.
You know that you have the power to make a difference in not just your own environmental wellness—but in that of others, too. After all, even the smallest of changes can add up to make a huge difference. And if everybody does their part, we could be on a path to a healthier planet.
With a better understanding of what environmental wellness entails, why environmental wellness matters, and what you can do to improve yours, you can start making a difference.
7 Dimensions of Wellness
The seven dimensions of wellness are as follows:
- Emotional Wellness
- Spiritual Wellness
- Social Wellness
- Physical Wellness
- Intellectual Wellness
- Environmental Wellness
- Occupational Wellness
And while it's good to strive for some sort of equilibrium between all of these dimensions at once, the reality is that these wellness factors will likely ebb and flow at various stages of life. During some periods of your life, you may be more in-tune with your spiritual and physical wellness, whereas other times may lend themselves to a focus on occupational or intellectual wellness.
Regardless, the important thing is to always be striving for better. The more you understand these dimensions of wellness and how to cultivate them in your own life, the better off you'll be.
What is Environmental Wellness?
In simple terms, environmental wellness refers to your understanding and awareness of your position within the world and the impact your daily actions can have on the environment. Likewise, environmental wellness comes from an understanding that everything comes back full-circle; not only do your actions affect the environment—but your environment can impact your own well-being.
When you strive to improve your environmental wellness, you are working to achieve a greater sense of harmony and balance with the planet by minimizing your own negative impact on the environment.
Why does environmental wellness matter? There are many benefits you (and others) can enjoy from improved environmental health, such as:
- cleaner air and water quality
- reduced exposure to hazardous waste
- safer outdoor environments
- better access to healthy foods
- improved physical health
- increased lifespan
- enhanced quality of life
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the benefits of improved environmental wellness, but it's a solid start. So, now that you have a better understanding of what environmental wellness is and how it affects other aspects of your health and wellness, what are some small changes you can make to create a healthier environment yourself?
5 Tips to Improve Your Environmental Wellness
1. Cut Back on Your Water Use
Water waste is one of the biggest factors immediately affecting our local environments. Unfortunately, many people take the luxury of running water for granted. It's easy to do. But by making a few small changes to your water use habits, you can drastically reduce your household water usage and make the world a better place. And of course, as an added bonus, you'll save a few bucks on your water bill.
Some examples of ways to cut back on your daily water use include:
- shutting off your faucet while brushing your teeth, except for while rinsing.
- filling a basin of water to wash your dishes instead of leaving the faucet running.
- waiting to wash laundry until you have a full load.
- waiting to run the dishwasher until it is full.
All of these seemingly tiny actions can add up to a savings of hundreds of gallons of water per day—and it's easy to see how quickly that can add up!
2. Put a Stop to Junk Mail
Did you know that the average American receives more than 40 pounds of junk mail in any given year? Sadly, a lot of that junk mail ends up in our landfills, further polluting the planet. If you're sick of receiving junk mail, there are some steps you can take to reduce the amount you receive.
Start by unsubscribing to these lists; all too often, personal information is sold to large corporations that then send out junk mail to home addresses. By taking the time to call catalog companies and other solicitors directly, you can request to be removed from their lists. If you're receiving credit card offers, you can also "opt out" of these offers by filling out this simple online form.
You can also cut back on the amount of paper mail you receive by signing up for paperless communications through providers such as banks, cell phone providers, and utility providers. In most cases, you can sign up for paperless communications by logging into your online account and adjusting your account settings.
And of course, you can always take the time to properly recycle any paper junk mail that you do receive to reduce the amount that ends up in your local landfills.
3. Make the Switch to "Green" Cleaners
How about an environmental change that can have a direct impact on your physical health and well-being? If you're currently using harsh chemical cleaners in your home, you could be exposing yourself and your loved ones to toxic fumes. Meanwhile, you're releasing these chemicals into the atmosphere, further contributing to environmental issues such as the depletion of our ozone layer and climate change.
By making the switch to natural (or even homemade) cleaners, you can still enjoy the same level of clean—but without all the harsh chemicals. Vinegar, borax, and baking soda are all examples of more natural cleaners that can be effective in cleaning, sanitizing, and removing unwanted odors throughout your home.
When you make your own cleaning products, you can also cut down on single-use plastic. Instead of going through several plastic bottles of store-bought disinfectant throughout the year, for example, you can make your own cleaner and store it in a reusable glass bottle.
4. Get Serious About Recycling
If you're not already participating in a local recycling program, now is the time to get started. No matter what you want to recycle or where in the United States you live, Earth911's recycling search tool will help you find what you're looking for. Simply enter what you need to recycle, along with your ZIP code, to get instant results.
Depending on the services available where you live, you may even be able to opt into a local recycling pickup service. Many of these are run by the same companies that handle trash pickup. By opting in, you will typically receive a separate recycling bin that is picked up in the same manner as your trash bins. The rates for this can vary depending on where you live, but are usually quite reasonable. This is a great way to recycle things like plastics, paper, and cardboard without having to leave your home.
5. Invest in Reusable Shopping Bags
You can also drastically cut down on plastic and paper waste by simply purchasing some reusable bags to take with you each time to venture to the grocery store. By using these in lieu of paper or plastic bags, you can do your part to help the environment in a big way. To make sure you don't forget these bags when you head to the grocery store, we recommend keeping them stored in the trunk of your car!
Even if you do forget your bags (or use a grocery pick-up/delivery service that prevents you from using your own bags), remember that you can always recycle paper and plastic grocery bags. Many grocery stores actually accept plastic and paper bags for recycling, so be sure to look into this.
Ready to Get Started?
When you live in a cleaner and healthier environment, you may be surprised at what a difference this can make in your own physical and mental health. Even just knowing that you're doing your part to make a small difference can give you the boost in environmental wellness that you need to live a life in full bloom.
And of course, you don't have to stop there. Why not simultaneously work on your environmental wellness and your social wellness by starting a local recycling or "green" initiative? The more people you can get involved, the greater the difference you'll make in your community. Meanwhile, you'll enjoy the benefits of working with like-minded people towards a common goal.
In the meantime, keep on making the small changes addressed here to start improving your environment today. Your body will thank you—as will our planet's future generations. While your actions may seem minuscule, they will add up to make a huge difference in the lives of others. And that alone makes them worth doing.Posted on September 20, 2021