My transition into a more sustainable living has been very organic. Step by step my eyes have been opened to a new field to be changed and improved. However, even with a slow transition I have felt, and still feel, overwhelmed at times. When I see other people who have come further in their journey I can easily feel put down by the fact that I am not doing everything.
Why you are feeling overwhelmed
You are trying to do all at once
When you get into sustainable living it might be somewhat of an epiphany, but it can become too much at one time. Going vegan, zero-waste and stopping fast fashion is not something you simply do overnight, at definitely not all at once. It requires time, knowledge and engagement and you risk losing interest if you go out too hard. Choose one field to go all in, or go with a slow reformation, if you want it to be a lasting change.
You are trying to be perfect
It is impossible to live fully ethical/sustainable/slow or whatever it is you aspire to do. You would have to die, but actually dying is quite bad too, so the only way of being fully sustainable would be to not have been born and that is not possible. So you have to try to do your best, but try not to beat yourself up if you are not perfect. No one is.
A real girl isn’t perfect and a perfect girl isn’t real
So remember that this is your life, it should be enjoyable and you should not feel bad about not being the best all the time, because honestly you probably aren’t.
You feel lost and don’t know where to start or go from here
For any big lifestyle changes it is necessary to know what and why you are doing. So before diving into something big (like spending tons of money on glass jars because you read that plastic is bad or buy out the Everlane warehouse because you heard they are ethical) do your research and form your own opinion on the topic.
What you can do to avoid feeling overwhelmed
Put things in perspective
When you feel overwhelmed by the quest, give yourself a break – you are probably doing something or at least willing to be better, so at least hold on to that! Some sustainable life changes are not possible for some people or in some life situations, but every change for the better is positive.
Simply avoiding to buy a new pair of jeans and a simple cotton t-shirt saves about 20 000 liters of water. Be happy for that and feel motivated instead of feeling put down by how much you do not do.
Go slow, step by step
Like mentioned above, you need to give yourself time to adjust to the changes. Rome wasn’t built overnight and neither was you. The habits you have today have probably been forming over years, so quitting them in one day will likely not be possible if you are looking for a long term change. For a habit to stick it has to be doable, so doable is better than perfect since you might stick to it. One step at a time, don’t move to quick.
Inform yourself, find inspiration
A solution to feeling lost in the world of sustainability is to get informed. Not only will it give you some clarity and guidance, but it will also (hopefully) inspire you. There are so many good sources of information around. On Instagram there are hundreds of other people trying to live a more green life, seek them out, get inspired. Maybe you can even reach out to them? There are also several Facebook groups where discussions about green lifestyles are encourage and where you can seek advice from others on the same journey. Use that source!
You could walk around naked, live in the forest and be self sustaining and you would still have an impact on the earth so just accept that you can only do so much and strive to make the best of it. The world would be a much better place if just everyone tried to be a bit better towards the planet.