by Jenise Fryatt | Featured Contributor
The new year brings with it all kinds of optimism and motivation often nudging us to at least think about creating a life that’s happier, healthier and more in line with our personal values.
We may jot down resolutions or objectives. We may even make a plan to ensure we realize these intentions by year’s end.
But too often old habits, doubts and attitudes blur our greater vision and keep us from achieving these goals.
Bill Murray’s psychoanalyst character from the movie “What About Bob” would recommend “baby steps” – small actions that, when consistently applied, can ease the way to moving mountains.
In that vein, here are a few suggestions for small steps that can have a significantly positive impact on your life, your pocketbook and Mother Earth.
Turn off the TV
TV is rife with disturbing images, fear-inducing content and manipulative marketing messages. Is it really worth your peace of mind? Take a break from TV. If you find it beneficial, consider canceling your cable. You may find that $100 per month is much better spent elsewhere.
Find Alternatives to Buying Stuff
Check out the freebie section on Craigslist or local Facebook groups. Consider using smart phone apps that facilitate bartering and/or sharing. Or consider borrowing and sharing items with friends and neighbors.
Get Out in Nature
Nothing clears the cobwebs and grounds you like being in nature and there are scientifically proven benefits for your physical and mental health.
Plan and Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden
Now is the time for checking out those seed catalogs and getting your game plan together. If you have a small space, consider container gardening.
Connect With Your Community
Knowing your neighbors can really come in handy in an emergency or even if you need to borrow a stick of butter. But how about creating a community garden or a solar micro-grid? Communities in the Transition Towns movement are doing this and more!
Learn How to Make Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are great for building that beneficial bacteria so important for a healthy immune system. If you’re interested in learning how to get started, check out my guest segment on the topic via the Modern Homesteading Podcast.
Start a Compost Pile
Basic recipe for compost: 30 parts brown material (dried such as leaves, sticks and cardboard) to one part green material (fresh such as kitchen waste. )
DIY Household Cleaning
Did you know that a rolled up ball of aluminum foil can eliminate static electricity in your dryer? Or that dish soap mixed with hydrogen peroxide makes an excellent stain remover? Save money and ditch the toxic chemicals in store-bought household products. For more DIY cleaning recipes, search Pinterest.
Learn About Permaculture
More than just an organic way to garden, permaculture is a set of design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems. When understood, it can help you to design just about anything in a way that is not only beautiful and highly efficient but creates little or no waste.
Gratitude brings happiness and also the circumstances that lead to more happiness. Make it a habit during meditation. Or create a gratitude journal and write down five things for which you are grateful everyday. Try it for a week and you may get hooked.
DIY Beauty Products
Store bought beauty products contain toxic and highly questionable ingredients. Save money and make your own. Check out Pinterest for ideas.
Include Bone Broth in Your Diet
Bone broth helps heal and seal that leaky gut so often responsible for allergies, eczema and a weak immune system. It can also benefit your joints! So don’t throw out those left over chicken or beef bones. Simmer them overnight for a delicious and health enhancing base for winter soups and stews.
The mental, physical and emotional benefits of yoga are well documented. And it’s so accessible. Even if you don’t have a yoga studio in your town, you can access free yoga classes on You Tube. What are you waiting for?
Recycle and Upcycle
Before you throw out those old sheets, consider using them to crochet a small area rug. Old mild cartons make great pots for seedlings. And that empty vinegar jug can be turned into a scoop for your dog food. Thinking of new ways to use old things is not only kinder on the planet, but it’s fun.
Learn What Edible Plants Grow in Your Backyard
Lambs quarters, dandelions and purslane grow just about everywhere. Familiarize yourself with wild edibles to widen your healthy diet and increase your self-reliance.
Few habits can give you greater mental and physical benefits than a daily meditation practice. Taking the time to learn a simple meditation method can help. Remember the objective is not to completely quiet the mind. It’s more about becoming aware of and eventually having more control of your thoughts.
Jenise Fryatt is well-known in content marketing and event marketing arenas.
As Content Marketing Strategist for Smarter Shift, she employs her knowledge on behalf of the company as well as its clients. She also served as moderator for three regular Twitter chats and founded the popular #ContentChat which focuses on topics of interest to content marketers.
As part owner in an audio visual company, Jenise has a special connection to the events industry. She’s been a regular blogger on various sites on the topics of social media and events and spent three years writing for the Cvent blog on the topic of digital marketing for events. She also co-authored two research papers for Meeting Planners International (MPI): one on The Strategic Value of Virtual Events and another on Hybrid Events.
However Jenise’s true passion is sustainable living. In addition to co-hosting The Sustainable Living Podcast, she lives on her own three acre homestead and is currently in the process of obtaining her Permaculture Design Certification.
A yoga instructor and long-time meditator, she integrates a mindful approach to all of her work and believes the key to this, and virtually every other problem, lies in cultivating a heart-centered life.