Wow it’s the first of December! The Pohutakawas are starting to bloom, your mother wants to know if you’ll be home for christmas lunch and that incessant woman in HR is going on about secret santa. It can be a stressful time of year, where all efforts to be sustainable and mindful are relegated to the back of the mind as just, “another thing to worry about”. But wait, it doesn’t have to be that way – cue shock horror – the team at LETE have compiled a few handy tips to help you navigate this fantastic time of year.
Waste not want not, ideas to minimise all that extra waste.
It will come as no surprise to read that the amount of rubbish households produce rises dramatically at this time of year, so just remember the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Reduce. Probably the easiest and most obvious strategy for minimising waste over the festive period, is to reduce the amount of single use items. Instead of wrapping paper why not a cute reusable bag or box? In the UK alone over 365,000kms of wrapping paper will be used over the current festive season! You could also swap the christmas card on the mantelpiece for an e-card? Not only will it reduce the amount of useless coloured card thrown in the bin, come the 26th, you don’t have to panic about posting the cards 3 weeks out either.
Think about powering down. Not every light needs to be on in the house, and not every screen needs to be on either. Christmas lights, while just a delight to the eye, do not need to be flashing all through the night. Most have timers these days, so set the timer and tick that one off the list.
Reuse. Single use plates and cutlery can be convenient and handy for those beach picnics, however this is a trend that just needs to be phased out. There are so many cute picnic sets – made from sustainable materials such as bamboo – on the market these days. Not only can they be used all summer and the next, they are a great gift idea.
Did you know that the most common plastic in New Zealand is the single use plastic drink bottle? The LETE reusable coffee cup and reusable water bottle are ethical and sustainable alternatives you can use for your family picnic. Also another cute gift idea as you can reuse them all year round!
Maybe you’re like my mother who likes to save the wrapping paper from the year before and repurpose for this year. If you’re not, maybe you could be?
Recycle. Take a minute to educate yourself on what can and can’t be recycled. You’d be surprised how many soft plastics you can chuck in the recycling bin.
How can we eat sustainably?
Waste Management New Zealand estimates we spend an extra $100million on food over Christmas with almost a third of our festive feasts going straight in the bin. That’s a lot! If you’re in charge of cooking, think about employing two of the Rs – reduce and reduse. If you’re feasting we have some sage advice ‘yule’ love.
Overindulging on sugary treats and alcoholic beverages is synonymous with the silly season, and it can feel good – temporarily. Refined sugar and alcohol can disrupt your metabolism, energy levels, sleep and mental health, which will only serve to compound those stress levels. So rather than handicapping yourself, make sure you continue to fuel your body with whole foods. Whole foods often come with less packaging too, which can only help to reduce the amount of overall household waste.
At the end of the day it wouldn’t be Christmas without a wee bit of indulgence, just make sure it doesn’t become a daily blow out. For more tips check out one of these sustainable influencers, Ethically Kate and Mindfully Tara, they have a bunch of sustainable insights and healthy recipes for this time of year.
Gift consciously and sustainably.
Forget the trashy stocking fillers, choose good quality, durable gifts that will last. Really think about who you are buying for, could you gift something practical and useful?
Choose gifts made from natural materials such as bamboo, wood, cotton or silk. Swap those green nylon work-out tights for a pair of green leggings, made from ethically sourced bamboo. Conversely, every item in the LETE collections are made using ethically sourced and sustainably produced bamboo.
You could take it an extra step and ensure the gifts you are buying are from companies with ethical and sustainable manufacturing practices. Kiwi company All Things Considered are a fantastic platform which allows you, the consumer, to find out how ethical and sustainable your favourite brands really are. Did you know LETE is the top ranked NZ activewear brand on the platform? Well now you do.
What about a gift that actually promotes sustainability? We’ve already mentioned our reusable coffee cups, but you could also think about a pot plant, herbs for the vege patch or a composting starter kit.
Don’t forget to look after yourself
It can be a month where all of our healthy habits and routines are forgotten. Rather than putting too much pressure on yourself, think about those habits that you consider essential to maintain your wellbeing – make a commitment to keep up with at least one. That could be 30 minutes of mediation in the morning, drinking plenty of water, exercising most days or just taking some time to yourself. At this time of year we should really prioritise these habits more than ever to reduce overall stress, however we know that doesn’t always happen. Just don’t beat yourself up about it if other life commitments get in the way.
Many people take a break from their regular exercise regime over the holiday period, but that doesn’t mean you should forget about moving your body altogether. Rather than a gym session what about a bush walk? Or maybe a swim in the river, kicking a ball around the park, or a spot of beach cricket, there are plenty of fun activities you can get the whole family involved in.
With so many extra things to think about at this time of year, it’s really important to be able to wind down at the end of the day, to ensure we all get 7-9 hours of quality sleep a night. Switch off the laptop and stop checking those work emails, it can wait until the morning.
Say “No Thank You”
It can be hard to know when to stop. Even if you do, you may not want to offend the host by declining their offer of another drink or helping of dessert. Don’t be afraid to say no. If a simple ‘no, thank you’ doesn’t suffice you could follow up with “I’ve had enough to eat/drink for now, but would love to hear about how your work/family/new project is going”. This takes the attention off what you’re eating and gives the person something else to focus on.
From the team at LETE, we hope you all have a joyful and refreshing holiday, filled with love, family and friends. Better living everyone!