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Friday, August 17, 2012

Too Tired to Be Green


There are days when you’re just too tired. Too tired to walk out to the compost pile. Too tired to wash the cloth diapers that are piling up. Too tired to pull the weeds from your organic garden. Too tired to be green.

Why? Because you’re a parent. Parenting is some seriously exhausting work. And there are days where whipping up a healthy, sustainable meal seems unachievable. When you forgo the farmer’s market for convenience food. When you just want to have it easy.

Does that preclude you from making positive change? Of course not! We are all entitled to our lapses and reality checks. Being a parent provides more than enough challenges. For holistic-minded parents, it can be a double-edge sword. The health and well-being of our families is exactly the incentive and motivation we need to live greener and more sustainably. But the sheer volume of energy that parenting demands leaves us with fewer and fewer resources to achieve our goals. What’s a tired holistic-minded mom or dad to do?

First, take baby steps. Whatever changes you are trying to make to live healthier or greener, take them one step at a time. The more radical the change, the slower you may have to go. When you are juggling too many new tasks or habit it’s like a house of cards – just one more and then entire effort can come falling down. Commit to one change until it feels routine and then take the next step.

Be prepared. Stock your home with things that will make green living easier, even when life seems overwhelming. Match up a few batches of non-toxic cleaners and stock them in your cabinet for little spills and big messes. Keep organic versions of convenience foods on hand for those times when things get crazy. Or better yet, cook extra whenever you have the time and freeze or store accordingly, for future use.

Lose the guilt. Feel guilty about not living up to our own ideals is not only self-defeating but often creates a downward spiral. Once you feel bad, you simply start throwing in the towel (and paper towels at that!). Acknowledge that you are always doing the best you can in the moment with the resources that you have. When calm returns, think about what you can pre-plan or prep to keep you on track for achieving your goals, even when stress or unexpected events come your way.

Fill your own cup. When you have down time, sleep, eat well, or make time for exercise, it’s easier to handle all of life’s challenges. And it’s easier to take on the prospect of making positive changes. Connect with friends or a local support network to help stay on track and to address your own needs. Social connection can make a world of difference!

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