How to avoid overwhelm when going green

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably experienced information overwhelm at some point. You go to research a health topic that interests you, and one intriguing, informative link goes into another and another and . . . here we go again, right down the rabbit hole!

You start to panic, because it feels like there is so much to do–how will you find the time? What if you miss something important and your child suffers for it? Aaaah . . . help!

First of all, calm down. Take a deep breath. Besides, we all know by now that the world is going to hell in a handbag, and there ain’t a damn thing we can do about it.

I kid, I kid. But nothing productive ever really gets accomplished in the midst of overwhelm.

We all have a million things to do in our daily lives. I mean, we’re moms. I get it. But there is totally a way to weed through all the muck of terrifying prophecies we receive in our daily facebook feed, and come out with a manageable plan for raising healthy kids and preserving their environment. One that doesn’t include either throwing our kids in a plastic bubble (eegads, plastic!) or single-handedly ending global warming.

There are better ways to protect our kids

Stress is also a toxin

Stressing out about toxins while having the desire to limit your toxin exposure is kind of like drawing interest in a savings account while paying interest on a loan–you are cancelling out your progress!

Stress can be very toxic. In fact, the more we endure it, the higher the chances of the genes controlling things like fat storage, aging, and cancer risks, ceasing to work in our favor. Stress can also shut down our immune system, increasing the inflammation that is believed by so many in the holistic health field, to be the root cause of all illness.

Don’t freak out at every headline

I know how triggering a morning scroll down your Facebook feed can be. Those headlines are made to grab attention, and it’s unsettling to read about how unsafe our kids are deemed to be in their own environment. You just have to take a deep breath and approach it the right way.

Namaste your toxins away . . .

First of all, try not to check your feed, or the internet in general, first thing in the morning. Always opt for something more peaceful and positive for settling into the day ahead instead. For example, “grab a bite of yoga;” even 10 or 15 minutes can be enough to ease your mind and muscles. I love me some Yoga with Adriene, she offers a yoga practice for every occasion. Feel a migraine coming on? Experiencing grief? Long day of gardening? She has a yoga practice for it.

Yoga might not be your thing. That’s ok. Find out what is.

Headspace is a fabulous app for daily meditations. Maybe you prefer to run, read or listen to some music. Heck, get up and dance! Engage in whatever activity centers you and gears you up best to hit the forces of the day. Just do it! And I can almost guarantee you that it’s not scanning negative news headlines on your Facebook feed.

Take baby steps

As with any new habit, it “takes” best when we give it time and start gradually. You don’t tend to have a lot of success on a weight-loss plan when you go from gorging on buffets to extreme fasting overnight. Nor does this method work when “going green.”

Habits are hard to break. We’ve spent a lot of time growing accustomed to our current ways of doing things. We’re busy people with a lot on our minds, and we do the vast majority of what we do, subconsciously. If we didn’t, we would never have the free space in there with which to brainstorm and implement innovative new ideas on things like curing cancer.

So, when you get all inspired to recycle/reuse/reduce everything you come into contact with, or only consume organic foods when you’ve been eating takeout from McDonald’s all the time, slow down!

Your new motivation will be much more effective and enduring if you start small. For example, you could begin by looking up your local recycling pickup guide and committing to following it, within reason. Or you could find out this year’s “dirty dozen” list and commit to purchasing only organic for those 12 items.

Once you feel comfortable with your first step, come up with a way to further your sustainability and/or toxin-free practices. Then go from there.

Focus on areas that are most important to you

A good way to pick and choose a place to start is to think about your family members and their needs. Perhaps your youngest struggles with asthma. You could look into air filters that best remove toxins in your home. Or maybe your husband complains about headaches when coming into contact with chemical fragrances. You can make changes like replacing commercial air fresheners with diffused essential oils, and artificially scented laundry detergents with more organic versions.

It makes sense to start with the areas that matter most to your family, instead of trying to tackle them all at the same time and falling into overwhelm.

Learn when to take it easy

As my wise environmental toxins instructor, Lara Adler, always says: “Focus on the things you can change, so you don’t have to worry about the things you can’t.”

Cut yourself a break!

If you are generally implementing healthier practices when preparing your family meals, maintaining a clean home environment, etc, you can afford to let a few things slide. Life gets crazy; we aren’t always at our best. But that’s ok, we’re managing a lot and we’re trying. So cut yourself a break.

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