Between the sheet masks, weighted blankets and adult coloring books, self-care has evolved into a booming industry. With so many companies trying to profit on self-care, though, caring for the planet can often fall to the wayside as trendy products are shipped, used and tossed.
Some of the most important elements of self-care have no carbon footprint at all, like practicing meditation or simply taking a deep breath. Beyond that, though, there are many ways to practice self-care while caring for the planet. Here are 15 that you can try.
Walk to work.
If you have the option, walking to work is a great way to elevate your endorphins while reducing the carbon footprint of your commute.
Green your dental routine.
Dental care is self-care. Make your oral hygiene routine more eco-friendly by turning the water off while brushing your teeth and opting for biodegradable silk floss and bamboo toothbrushes.
Find vegan alternatives to your favorite comfort foods.
Animal products usually have a larger carbon footprint than their plant-based counterparts. Find a vegan alternative for your go-to comfort food, like jackfruit tacos, frozen banana “ice cream” or macaroni and cashew cheese.
Start gardening (or buy house plants).
Gardening gets you outside and active, and soil microbes stimulate serotonin production. Plus, you can reduce the carbon footprint of shipping your favorite produce by growing it yourself.
Decorate with houseplants.
Greenery is psychologically soothing, and studies show that caring for ornamental plants makes us more compassionate. Plants also absorb carbon dioxide and purify the air of your indoor environment.
Make your own soothing face mask instead of buying one from the store.
Single-use sheet masks are all the rage, but those packaged pads end up in landfills after they soothe your skin. Make your own face mask with natural materials, from avocado and egg whites to turmeric and honey.
Opt for low-waste beauty products — or make your own.
Good hygiene doesn’t have to hurt the planet. Opt for reusable beauty products when possible, or buy in bulk with reusable containers.
Go for a hike (and practice good stewardship).
Spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress. Practice mindfulness while you’re walking, or even pick up trash along the trail.
Helping others may not seem like self-care, but volunteering helps give us a sense of purpose and feel more connected to our community.
Put your phone down and turn off the TV.
Lazy days can be good, but sometimes we overindulge at the expense of our mental health. Plus, electronics expend energy. Try reading instead.
Light a sustainably-sourced candle.
Buy a cozy paraffin-free candle with a cotton or wood wick made of soy wax, coconut wax or beeswax — or, make your own.
Plan a staycation.
Plane travel has an enormous carbon footprint, and it can be stressful and expensive to plan a big vacation. Take a few days off and plan a “staycation” to try new restaurants, see local shows and relax at an area spa.
Clean your house naturally.
Cleaning your living space helps clear your mind. Use homemade natural cleaners instead of harsh chemicals to keep the planet clean, too. Vinegar and baking soda can go a long way.
Hydrate with a reusable water bottle
Help reduce plastic waste while staying hydrated. You can even choose a water bottle that shows you how much water you drink throughout the day.
Partake in mindful retail therapy at your thrift store
Search your local thrift store for something that makes you feel beautiful while reducing the carbon footprint of your closet.