Valentine’s day isn’t just about treating others. Show yourself—and the planet—some love this February 14th (and any other day that calls for self-care!).
The idea of self-care, or attending to your well-being and happiness, has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. That’s something we can all get behind. What’s concerning is that self-care and consumerism have become highly intertwined in our society. But taking care of yourself doesn’t have to mean buying anything. For instance, getting some exercise, catching up on sleep, listening to music, meditating, or phoning a friend can be excellent ways to actively work on your well-being without generating waste.
Even when your self-care routine does involve stuff, you can make informed choices that have a lower environmental impact.
Here are some of our favorite self-care activities and sustainable swaps to consider.
Eat Something Comforting
Have a favorite meal that you just haven’t had time to prepare or pick up lately? Whether it’s a crisp kale salad or a gooey bowl of mac and cheese, it can count as self-care. Life’s all about balance!
- If you usually order in, see if you can recreate your favorite meal at home to avoid the delivery bags and cartons.
- If you’re cooking at home, do your best to make the right amount of food (and have reusable containers for leftovers on hand). Compost any food waste if possible.
Make a Relaxing Beverage
It’s so nice to sink into the sofa after a long day with the remote or a book in one hand and a drink in the other. That moment can feel even better when you prepare your beverage with the planet in mind.
- Instead of buying hot chocolate pouches or pods, make cocoa from scratch or keep a DIY mix on hand.
- Many teabags contain plastic. Look for plastic-free, biodegradable tea bags, or—better yet—opt for loose leaf tea.
- Make your coffee using reusable pods or filters or with a french press. Compost your grounds.
- Do your research and opt to buy your tea, coffee, or alcohol from eco-friendly brands when possible.
Have a Spa Moment
Taking a bath can relax muscles, ease aches and pains, and even improve sleep. Yes, baths use a lot of water, so they’re best enjoyed in moderation.
- Swap plastic loofahs for natural ones, or just use a washcloth or your hands.
- Instead of plastic-bottled bubble bath, use a bar. Add flower petals to elevate the experience.
- Make your own body scrub with ingredients you already have at home, like coffee grounds.
Clean Up Your Space
Cleaning may not be the first thing you think of when you hear the phrase “self-care,” but maintaining a clean and safe living environment is absolutely linked to well-being. Cluttered spaces can be overwhelming, so tidying up can reduce your stress.
- Opt for green cleaning products, or make your own vinegar cleaning spray in a reusable bottle.
- Use old cloths instead of paper towels.
Dress Up—Or Down
Dressing up or doing your makeup, even when you don’t necessarily have somewhere to go, can feel great and boost confidence. Alternatively, throwing on big, comfy sweats can be the start to a perfect night on stressful days.
- Switch out your usual makeup picks for sustainable, zero-waste versions.
- Try your hand at making your own cosmetics.
- When shopping for a confidence-boosting outfit, check secondhand shops and online marketplaces like Poshmark before buying new. Or upcycle things you already have in your wardrobe!
- Try not to buy clothes or shoes on a whim purely in the name of self-care. As possible, invest in sustainably-produced pieces you’ll use over and over and over.
Making time for creative pursuits can help you feel fulfilled. Write, draw, paint—anything that gets those creative juices flowing.
Learning new things can be self-care, as it’s a good workout for your brain and leaves you feeling accomplished and empowered. Try your hand at some of the DIYs mentioned above, like making cosmetics or learning to sew so you can upcycle your clothes.
- Make some DIY paints out of fruit and vegetable scraps.
- Opt for more sustainable writing or sketching utensils, like fountain pens.
What to do With Waste
Don’t let any trash you have on hand after your self-care routine affect your newfound peace. You can think ahead by purchasing products from brands that have a free recycling program through TerraCycle. Or, buy a Zero Waste Box so you can make sure nothing goes to landfills.
Remember, it’s always a good plan to use what you have first. Don’t throw away that store-bought container of body scrub just because you’ve found a great DIY recipe. Use up what you have, reuse or recycle the container (if you can’t recycle it through your curbside service, send it to us!), and then opt for the alternative going forward.
Everyone’s idea of self-care is different! What are your favorite self-care activities? How have you made your routine low (or no) waste? Tell us in the comments.