Taking steps to a more natural lifestyle can feel daunting and overwhelming, especially if you try to take every step at once. That’s why I’ve decided to simplify the process. Baby steps are the simplest ways to get you from where you are to where you want to go!
My interest in natural(er) living didn’t start when it became trendy. In fact, so disenchanted was I with the whole shebang, I often joked that I was the only one in my generation to not want to be able to drink my all-purpose cleaner.
You really couldn’t have convinced me five years ago that I’d be the person I am today.
Yet, here I am, sitting at my white desk with the modern lines wishing it was a thrifted oak desk with scratches and dents, contemplating ways to go natural.
These days, healthy comes in a lot of packages… usually mlm packages. At the height of my online business building career, when I was high in popularity and low in pant sizes, I was anything but healthy.
Yet my business was all about “health.” Or was it?
I have nothing against mlm’s, in theory, and I have nothing against the health benefits of certain shakes- I drink and serve them to my kids to this day.
But I have first hand insight into the behind the scenes unhealth that comes from a life spent so wrapped around an online image, that healthy no longer looks like working out every day, to me.
To me, healthy is having a strong immune system. It’s having high energy to complete the tasks that need completing each day. Healthy is not worrying about what people think of you, not needing to be in the spotlight.
Health, in my definition, comes from actually taking care of yourself- your whole self- mind, body, and spirit but not letting your whole self be your main or only focus in life.
If you want to take steps to a more natural lifestyle, you need to define where you’re headed.
To some, natural living means a zero plastic, zero waste, make your own washable toilet paper sort of life.
That, my friends, is not my natural living goal.
Natural living, in my terms, means less plastic, less waste, more ways to incorporate every day life with nature. It’s living more frugally and healthily by making your own foods vs. pumping your stomach with processed garbage.
Natural living might mean replacing the bulk of your baggies with beeswax wrap but not doing away with your vacuum sealer just because it’s plastic.
I mean, how else will you preserve all of that grass fed cow meat you just bought off your local farmer?
Writing a blog post guiding others to a more natural lifestyle is a bit pretentious, because I’m so early in my own journey. However, sometimes it can feel too overwhelming to even begin when you compare your anything-but-natural life to someone who is a decade in.
I have a friend who is five years ahead of me on this journey and I swear, sometimes I feel like a walking toxin when I see the standards she helps her family aspire to. But you know what? It’s so good to be around someone who’s a few steps ahead of you on the path you’re walking.
So if you’re a super newbie, I’ll be the novice newbie leading you.
My standards of natural living are kind of low right now because I’m more concerned with consistent progress than I am with impressing anyone with my leveling up.
I make bread almost daily, these days, and that is pretty durn natural living compared to my old self.
You can go all in, change all the things, and naturalize every single room of your house at once…or you can do it the slow and steady way. I still have a microwave. I still use paper plates 50% of the time. And, as previously mentioned, I am not parting ways with my vacuum sealer anytime soon.
Plus, I’m like the only person I know who still burns candles so I’m practically a natural living outcast.
But… I’m crunchier today than I was last year, so maybe someday I’ll be living sans vacuum sealer. Who knows?
I’ve already said this but it bears repeating: if you want a sustainable natural lifestyle, take it one simple step at a time.
Consistent imperfection is more productive than inconsistent perfection tendencies.
Don’t start in every room. Don’t even start in an entire room. Just begin in a key area of one room.
For me, it has begun in my pantry. The very first thing I decided to do is weed out the top 5 worst ingredients in my cupboards and start making from scratch the things my kids ate most.
This is no easy feat considering that my two toddlers hardly eat, but slowly and steadily we’re getting closer to my goal.
I can have perfectionistic tendencies when it comes to things like blogging or dieting, so this step is super important for me to remember.
I’m not going to be 100%, 100% of the time. That’s called being perfect. That’s also called not being able to eat when you visit a friend’s house or get dressed if your three organic cotton t-shirts are all in the laundry pile.
If I go for 100% all of the time, then I’ll end up getting discouraged, overwhelmed, and defeated. I’ll end up going for zero.
Yet, if I know ahead of time that I’m just doing the absolute best that I know to do most of the time, then how can I get mad at myself about that?
Okay, sure this pepperoni stick has a whole mess of ingredients in it that I can’t pronounce and the last two are definitely on my top five worst list… but how often do we eat pepperoni anyways? And isn’t it okay to have a couple of slices on the pizza I’m sharing with my favorite family, than to have avoided the gathering in the first place?
The answer is yes.
I didn’t choose to begin in my pantry because that’s the easiest place to start; it’s not. I began in my pantry for two reasons, specifically:
My three year old and my two year old.
More specifically, my toddlers were beginning to develop bad snacking habits. They were eating processed junk because that’s what I was buying, and they stopped eating the things that were good for them.
My fault, my problem.
Additionally, because of
their my bad habits, they were having bathroom issues. The kind that had them in tears when it came time to go. Or not go, as the case was.
Seeing them struggle, knowing that it was in my power to help them change, knowing that it was basically completely up to me to guide them to better nutrition/health… that’s hard to ignore.
Maybe your family isn’t struggling so much with food. Or maybe the idea of starting there is enough to keep you from starting at all. Whatever it is, your family deserves to be your focus.
Is it sensitive skin issues? Begin with the laundry. Is it economical issues? Start with whatever saves you money!
Finally, let nothing that you do be the end all be all of your life. Taking steps to more natural living is a noble endeavor. It’s to the betterment of you and your family.
It’s all really good stuff!
But if you turn it into your personal idol, you will sacrifice relationships, sanity, peace of mind, etc. on the altar of adhering to your own natural living expectations.
Simply put, don’t sacrifice a life worth living in order to live longer more naturally.
Eat the cake.
Just maybe make it from scratch.