Toxins and Chemicals and Carcinogens, Oh My! – 5 Ways to Stay Sane When Your Green Lifestyle Doesn’t Feel Like Enough

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

Whether you’ve taken your very first step to living a green lifestyle or whether you’ve fully embraced one, I think everyone who has made a green effort has had at least one moment where they feel so overwhelmed and frustrated with the state of our world that they’re almost paralyzed with anger or doubt. I’m sure we all feel thankful that we are aware parents and doing our best to keep our families healthy, but how can you not sometimes feel upset when you learn that there are dangerous toxins in your child’s toys, dangerous chemicals in your baby’s pajamas, or toxins in our furniture?

As I find more and more disturbing information about the products our families use and about the air that we breathe, here are five ways that I stay positive and focused on living a green and healthy lifestyle – without getting overwhelmed:

1. Staying Positive for Health Purposes:
We choose to live green lifestyles, in part, to ensure good health for ourselves and our families. As aware parents, we also know that stress and negativity can actually have a detrimental effect on our health. According to an About.com article:

Science is constantly learning about the impact that stress has on your overall health. Stress is or may be a contributing factor in everything from backaches and insomnia to cancer and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Make the choice to let go of the negative and focus on all of the positive steps you are taking toward living a green and healthy lifestyle. Choose to be proud of yourself for being an aware, dedicated, and proactive parent! This choice will not only help you to relax but also help you to maintain good health or overcome any health challenges you may be facing. Never doubt the power of positive thinking!

2. Find a community of green and healthy supporters:
Sometimes a few words of support or the ear of a good listener – or message board! – can allow you to vent and clear your head. There are so many wonderful online communities to support you when you need a lift. You can find over 42 web sites to get you started with my post, The Best Web Sites for Green & Natural Mamas.

3. Find alternative ways to do things and lend your voice to campaigns to make a difference:
Yes, there are many non-green products that can have ill effects on our families, but sometimes you can remove the impact of that product by simply making another choice. Web sites like Healthy Child, Healthy World offer a myriad of alternatives and solutions for some of the most common unhealthy parts of our day. Take the time to look up some of the easiest ways to create a healthier home, and allow yourself to feel empowered for quickly and easily turning a negative into a positive for your family!

Also, as a busy parent, you may feel like you don’t have the time to make a larger green impact on the world, but there are several easy ways to lend your voice to making a difference. You can make yourself heard and fight for clean air, healthy food, and toxin-free products by simply signing your name to online campaigns like the ones that are regularly posted from Moms Clean Air Force and MomsRising. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, sometimes an effort to make a difference is all you need to remind yourself how much power we have as individuals to change our world for the better.

4. Find a source of inspiration:
Quotes like the following inspire me:

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do. ~Edward Everett Hale

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little – do what you can. ~Sydney Smith

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you. ~Mother Teresa

Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. ~Author Unknown

He has the right to criticize who has the heart to help. ~Abraham Lincoln

If I thought I was going to die tomorrow, I should nevertheless plant a tree today. ~Stephan Girard

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. ~Mahatma Ghandi

5. Look at the face of your little one, and know that even the smallest of steps is something to be proud of when you’re doing it for your precious child:

Baby drinks a sippy cup

This is the face that keeps me positive! In this picture, Baby visits an organic farm wearing a "Think Green" shirt and an organic cotton hat while sipping on a BPA-free sippy cup. Even the smallest of green choices are something to be proud of!

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