We had a great discussion on our Facebook Group this week about the Lockdown and how it was affecting our Zero Waste lifestyle.
“What have you learned during this difficult time? Here’s my challenge-
I’ve had to spend the past 7 weeks with my mum and my word it’s hard being elderly, disabled and living in a small rural town. Zero waste is a non starter.
Getting hold of loose veg and fruit etc depends on going to the market which depends on ability to get there. Getting hold of other groceries/ cleaning products depends on the what the local small supermarket stocks. And yes, you could order in a delivery from the big supermarkets but if you live on your own you won’t need enough to warrant a delivery even if you are internet savvy.
I guess I knew this and you probably did too but living with it has really brought home to me how hard it is for the older generation.”
Other members shared that elderly members of their family had combined orders. Chris wrote “Early on I knew that was going to be an issue so my father and two of his friends who live fairly close combine their grocery lists and can usually order every two weeks”
Another member shared ” I had a little sadness this morning, from a complete opposite perspective—an urban one. I’m not zero waste by any means, but all the small steps that are second nature to me now are basically gone. No bulk foods in my grocery stores. I can’t bring my bags in some stores. It’s been months since I got to visit my favorite coffee place (I used to work remotely on occasion), but when I do get to go back, no reusable cups. Can’t refill my water bottle in public, all the water fountains are closed. All the small steps that I’ve been able to take on, and promote to my friends and family, will now be almost completely moot.”
Mix with your neighbours, even when in your own home!
Someone in our village created a volunteers group to support people who were self isolating, elderly or vulnerable. I’m unable to go to the shops myself at the moment, but I’m on the telephone call rota. We ask if people need food collecting, prescriptions picking up or just a friendly chat. The feedback has been amazing and I feel so privileged to be a part of my local group. Many people say that having a phone call is the highlight of their week and the fact that we care and there is someone on hand to help them is making a massive difference to their mental health and ability to cope.
In other parts of the world, neighbours are singing together on their balconies, taking part in virtual keep fit classes or joining in with online sing-a-longs. All of these things keep us feeling uplifted and positive.
Focus on the positive
And in our own homes we have a choice don’t we? While we can’t control what the shops stock, whether we can use our own containers or how our supermarket deliveries are packaged, there ARE things we can do. For one we can look for all the positives. There have been some amazing stories about the environment – emissions have plummeted, skies have cleared and animals have thrived.
I’m driving less, have made some positive lifestyle choices – such as making handkerchiefs from old bed sheets, making sourdough bread and growing more food. My food waste is at an absolute minimum and I’ve dusted off my juicer and am using that to reduce veggie waste (and of course I’m healthier as a result of that). I have to use supermarket deliveries and so I end up with everything in plastic bags (which are no longer being collected for recycling), but my fuel bill for the month is virtually zero, so I’m contributing less emissions.
If you’re worried about the impact of lockdown there are many things you can do to ease your worries:
5 ways to feel better during lockdown
Firstly, if this is adversely affecting your mental health, consider getting support. You don’t have to leave your home to visit a therapist, many professionals now work virtually via Zoom or the telephone. You can read more about telephone counselling here.
Second, get active. I created a course to address this very issue; it’s about creating certainty and maintaining control where you can by learning to live with less. It’s currently on offer at just £5, so make it affordable for everyone. Buy your course for £5, here.
Third, join a group of people on your wavelength. On our Facebook Group we are focused on the positive solutions and thousands of members from around the world are sharing what’s working for them and asking for advice. Join us here.
Fourth, be careful what you focus on. I’ve been there myself – reading all the latest stories about death toll, food shortages and how the world will never be the same again. But you know where it gets you right? You feel immobilised, powerless and scared. So give yourself a time limit to follow the news you actually need to know, then switch to the positives – either read stories about communities that are coming together, how the environment is healing or throw yourself into a hobby you love. Here are 13 positive stories about the lockdown to get you started.
Fifth, volunteer. Science tells us there are numerous benefits to our own health when we help others. If you can leave your home you can shop or cook for others. If you can’t leave your home you can phone people so they hear a friendly voice, offer to help moderate a facebook group or share your skills virtually. There are so many options for volunteering from home once you put your mind to it.
How is it going for you? Are you focusing on the negatives or the positives?