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

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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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the tips! Sometimes I find myself wishing for the blindfold of naivity so I don’t have to second guess everything! I have friends who prefer to live their lives without learning more. That way they don’t have to make any changes and nothing bothers their conscience. I am glad there are people out there thinking of the future generation. That helps keep me going, as well as helps me learn more about how to live sustainably and how to teach my children to do so as well.
    Free Range Mama recently posted..Your vinegar may be made from petroleum productsMy Profile

    • says

      You’re welcome!

      I know the feeling and I know way too many people who live the way some of your friends do. It’s very disheartening, but it makes me feel better to think about how many people I know are changing their lives – and our planet – for the better these days :-)

  2. says

    Great post and reminders! I especially like the quote about planting a tree. My husband tends to be the doom and gloom guy when it comes to our environment. I’ll have to share this with him!
    Maria recently posted..3-2-1 Blast Off!My Profile

  3. says

    What a great post-thank you! I really liked the quotes at the end. My favorite was the first:” 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

    We all do what we can-and it’s impossible to do it all. But it’s important to remember that you are making a difference.
    Lori Popkewitz Alper recently posted..10 Ways to Stay Sane in a Crazy, Toxic WorldMy Profile

  4. says

    I learned a few years ago, that I can not do everything, nor can I do it all by myself. So I have to choose what I do for my family. Sometimes there is a lot to choose from and it can be overwhelming, but we if we all choose one thing to do, then we will begin to make a difference.

  5. says

    What great reminders! I especially like the one about surrounding yourself with like-minded folks. It helps give you ideas and keeps you motivated to be green, even if it isn’t always more convenient. I also like the last point. When I use talcum powder to get the sand off after a day at the beach or resort to a disposable diaper, instead of feeling guilty, I think of all the other ways I try to help the environment and then I think of all the other ways many people don’t, and I feel better about what I personally accomplish, and then I want to share so others realize how easy it can be to take the baby steps.
    Gaby @ Tmuffin recently posted..MONDAY MOMENTS: Halloween Costumes in PairsMy Profile

  6. says

    Great advice Charise! When I used to do more public speaking, educating parents about these issues, I always reminded them about the stress factor. It’s so important to find your own path, do what you can, and then just focus on enjoying your life – laughing, playing, hugging.

    Thanks for writing about this!

    Janelle Sorensen
    Chief Communications Officer
    Healthy Child Healthy World

  7. says

    That’s a good point about staying positive. Recently a blog I visit wondered whether all our green efforts were actually worth it. I did think about it for a while but came to the conclusion that even though it may not make a difference in the overall scale of things, it made *me* feel good and therefore it was worth doing.
    Alison Golden – The Secret Life of a Warrior Woman recently posted..What 9/11 Can Teach Us About The Power Of InnocenceMy Profile

  8. says

    Thanks for the good advice & the wonderful quotes! It’s so true that individually we are only one, but as a part of a group, we make a difference. If we never made an effort, as individuals, nothing would ever be accomplished!
    Shelley recently posted..I made a book!My Profile

  9. Cindy Haines McCooeye says

    Thank you for this! This is just the encouragement I needed to hear today, after lots of discussions with friends lately on health, food, the environment, vaccines, etc. We are all on different points on our journeys and understand different truths, but each of us needs to know that it’s the right thing to do- to do what we can do to improve things, step by step, little by little,. We need to know that this will have an impact in our lives and our children’s lives as we go along.

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