Not only are we living through a pandemic, the climate crisis looms large, and overall anxiety is on the rise.
With so many of us staying at home, missing our friends and loved ones, and feeling concerned about the future, it is more important than ever to take steps to bolster our mental health.
We asked Chartered Psychologist Dr Rachel Allan for advice on how to reduce anxiety and remain calm in times of stress. Rachel advocates prioritising the ‘little wins’ which can be powerful mood boosters and recommends using this time to consider our impact on the environment and make simple lifestyle changes.
Dr Rachel said: “Celebrating little wins like reducing plastic waste or supporting local retailers can have a positive effect on our emotional health during lockdown. We don’t need grand gestures during this difficult time but small, modest behavioural and lifestyle changes that reflect our values can make a difference to how we feel. For some, lockdown is an opportunity to re-evaluate our lifestyles. If we can choose to act in ways that reflect what matters most to us, our lives will be more meaningful and more satisfying in the long-term.”
We commissioned research revealing that eight in 10 people (81%) are using lockdown as an opportunity to tackle long overdue life admin, and almost half (44%) found that ticking these tasks off the list gave them a much-needed boost during this challenging time.
What’s more, a third of people said that they were focusing on making green lifestyle changes to be more sustainable.
With this in mind, we wanted to share our top tips for simple life hacks that are good for people and the planet.
Going green in quarantine: top tips
1. Reduce your food waste
We waste about a third of all food produced for human consumption. In fact, if food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. Instead of picking up the phone to the nearest takeaway, why not cook up a storm with what you have hidden at the back of the fridge with some top tips from Love Food Hate Waste.
2. Walking or cycling rather than driving
Now many of us have slightly more time on our hands, we can choose to use it wisely and travel via sustainable modes of transport such as cycling or walking instead of driving. The government has also announced a £2 billion package, including new cycle lanes, widening of footpaths and bicycle repair vouchers, to get more people cycling and walking in their everyday routines.
3. Change energy supplier
Switching to a renewable energy supplier is one of the simplest yet effective changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint. Boiling a kettle is estimated to generate 15g of CO2e alone. By moving to a renewable energy supplier like Ecotricity, you could dramatically decrease the carbon footprint of your entire household with one flick of a switch.
4. Re-wild your garden
The UK is now one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world with a staggering one in seven native species facing extinction and more than half (56%) in decline. Do your bit for biodiversity by gardening for wildlife. You can do this by growing pollinator-friendly flowers, planting wildflowers and letting your grass grow.
5. Switch banks
Since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2016, the UK’s top banks have poured over £150 million into financing the fossil fuel industry. While it isn’t as obvious as recycling or taking public transport, moving your money to our sustainable current account or investment fund is a hugely powerful move that people can make to protect the environment in the face of climate breakdown.
Triodos Bank UK CEO Bevis Watts commented:“While many of us are still at home, now might be the time that we tackle those admin tasks such as switching bank or changing energy provider.
“We have a unique opportunity to build a more sustainable society in the wake of this pandemic – one that puts people and planet first.”