3 Steps To Living A More Conscious Lifestyle
Guest post by Elisabetta Colabianchi, Global Dream Collective founder
What does it mean to live consciously? In the last few years, there's been a buzz about living “consciously” (especially in my hometown in California, and also in my #1 travel spot, New York City). Everyone interprets this concept a bit differently. But at its core, it means to live intentionally - in a way that takes into consideration the environment, our health, and every living being on the planet.
Every decision you make is an opportunity to design the kind of life that inspires you and those around you.
By starting to become aware of the choices you make, you can start to live a more conscious and intentional life. This type of lifestyle permeates every aspect of your life: from what you choose to do for a living, to who you choose to spend your time with, what you eat, and what products you purchase. Every decision you make reflects where you stand in the world and what your values are.
It can be overwhelming to try creating a more conscious lifestyle in every aspect of your life all at once. So what if you started with one aspect of your life and go from there?
One small place to start is to become a conscious consumer. This means saying “no” to buying unethical, unhealthy, and unnatural options, and instead saying “yes” to ethical, eco-friendly options that support your future and the future of our world.
If you’re inspired to start living a more thoughtful, conscious life through purposeful purchases, here are some simple ways to get started:
1. Eat organic, seasonal food. Not all fruits and vegetables grow everywhere in the world during the same season! Many people in the U.S. don’t realize that we have year-round access to every type of produce imaginable because of importation from other countries. Importing food from other places means there’s more time that the food travels before reaching your plate—meaning more fuel, refrigeration, hot houses, and other resources used to conserve and transport the food. Instead, consider eating organic, seasonal food.
Purchasing organic, seasonal produce helps support local farmers and suppliers, and reduces the amount of travel time needed to transport the produce. This in turn reduces the amount of fuel and resources used, and prevents pollutants from going into our environment. Not only does eating seasonally help our environment, it’s also healthier for us because less time during transport means the vitamins and nutrients are retained better and in turn, the produce has a higher nutritional value. It’s a win-win!
Some of my favorite places to find sustainable, organic, and fair trade foods are Good Earth, Whole Foods Market, and farm-to-table restaurants like Farmshop and Farmburger. But remember, even though a store or restaurant seems to have natural, organic options, you still need to check the labels and do your own research.
2. Purchase ethical clothing. Purchasing ethical clothing, accessories, shoes, and jewelry either means that you’re providing meaningful employment to vulnerable populations in safe working conditions and with good pay; the product purchased gives back to a cause in some way; the company has an intentional supply chain that is sustainable and eco-friendly; or, ideally, they have a combination of all these qualities. Choosing to support ethical clothing options could also mean shopping at thrift or consignment stores or recycling clothes through clothing swaps with your friends.
Some of my favorite ethical clothing companies include Fashionable, Sseko, Nisolo, Parker Clay, Equal Uprise and Tribe Alive (just to name a few! For a longer list, check out my list of conscious companies here). I love these companies because not only are their products stylish and high quality, but they empower people in developing nations, while providing fair wages and social programs.
3. Use eco-friendly beauty and cleaning supplies. You’d be surprised at all the chemicals and toxins that are found in your every day beauty and cleaning supplies. These toxins create adverse side effects and diseases in our bodies, and when they go down the drain, they also wreak havoc on our environment and the plants and animals that inhabit it.
Earlier this year, I de-cluttered my home and got rid of all my non-natural beauty and cleaning supplies. It was a lot of stuff to let go, but I decided that it was time to start promoting a healthy me and a healthy world. I began purchasing only natural, organic, and eco-friendly products—and I’ve seen a difference in my environment and in the way I feel.
Some of my favorite beauty supplies include W3ll People, Juice Beauty and Acure. To explore amazing natural, organic skincare, toiletries, and beauty supplies, check out the online marketplace Follain. When it comes to cleaning supplies, I’ve switched to Seventh Generation. In my quest to live more consciously and “clean”, I’m continuously checking labels and upgrading when I find out about new brands.
The three steps above help you incorporate purposeful products into your life, but there’s another step that doesn’t involve purchasing anything while still being a conscious consumer. It involves consuming less, and living a slower, simpler life.
This involves living more with less. When you have less “stuff”, you tend to value what you do have even more. What if you had a closet full of a few outfits that you loved and looked great in? A capsule wardrobe of quality, timeless basics that all go together? This is what living simply can look like.
What if you made a habit of not throwing away leftovers or not letting any food go bad? Buying less will require you to be more intentional about your meals and reduce waste. Think about composting your scraps and paper boxes, and using glass water bottles like BKR so that you also reduce your recycling usage (after all, recycling takes up resources).
Creating a conscious lifestyle starts with the intention to live more consciously. Pay attention to the choices you make each day and take small steps to design the kind of life that inspires you to invest in the betterment of yourself, others, and our planet.
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Elisabetta Colabianchi is the founder of the Global Dream Collective, a community of adventurous women dreamers and change-makers who are up to big things in the world. She is also the founder of Kurandza, a non-profit organization that empowers women and girls in Mozambique through entrepreneurship and educational opportunities. She enjoys writing about travel and conscious living on her blog, doing yoga and exploring nature. San Francisco is her home, and she spends over half the year traveling in East Africa and around the world working with her non-profit and consulting with other social enterprises.
Click here to learn more about Elisabetta and her work.
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