A brand new year brings exciting opportunities—the chance to reset, reawaken that drive, and of course, make some shiny resolutions. But while setting intentions is a first step in the right direction, it can feel a little overwhelming from there. Whether it’s cultivating a healthier lifestyle, helping the environment, or just becoming a better person in general, we’re breaking down five simple tips that, practiced habitually, will make a big difference in your life (and also help the Earth)!
DIY your cleaning supplies
Not only are store-bought cleaning solutions bad for the environment (hello, nasty toxins that we can’t even pronounce!), but they’re also detrimental to your health. After testing more than 2,000 run-of- the-mill cleaning supplies, the Environmental Working Group found that some formulas include scary carcinogens—like formaldehyde—and exposure to certain fumes can precipitate respiratory problems in people who don’t already have them. The good news is that you can make your own cleaners that are effective, eco-friendly and often less expensive than what’s on the shelf. Mix these simple DIY bathroom cleaners for the tub, toilet bowl and porcelain tile to clean your bathroom toxin free.
Bring reusable bags
Besides saving an extra ten cents, or more, each time you go to the grocery store, bringing your own bags is much friendlier to the environment than cycling through unnecessary paper and plastic. According to the EPA, we use over 380 billion plastic bags and wraps in the United States alone, which add to our landfill, spill into our oceans and harm our wildlife. Always having Urban Market Bags on hand is the best way to combat this, and not just when you’re making a grocery run. Bring them with you to department stores, pharmacies, craft stores, Target… anywhere you shop! Finally, you can say goodbye to that buildup of wasteful and random bags taking up space in your kitchen.
Replace screen time with me-time
You’ve heard it before—no screens in bed. But how often do you really practice this seemingly simple habit? Try following it for one week, and see how it affects both your day and your quality of sleep. Screens provide constant stimuli, so when you’re falling asleep to your favorite show, your brain isn’t registering that it’s time to fully turn off, and you probably won’t get the kind of sleep you need. Replace screen time with reading your favorite book, meditating for five minutes, or writing about those resolutions. The same goes for when you wake up. Try not to check your email the minute you wake up—instead, spend that time with a morning ritual or making breakfast and easing into your day.
Conserve electricity (and have fun doing it)
More often than not, you can find programs that allow you to earn rewards for decreasing your electricity usage. Websites like OhmConnect pay cash to encourage California residents to cut back. Sign up, connect it with your power company account, and get alerts for designated conservation times (usually an energy-busy hour in the afternoon, when more power plants are necessary to keep up). As you start saving, you’ll earn points, which eventually translate into more money in your pocket. It’s a win-win.
Take care of your gut
"Gut health" is a hot topic, and there's a good reason for it. If you keep your gut healthy, you'll have a stronger immune system and improved digestion. On top of keeping your body in check, it'll also help your mood. Studies have shown that the more good bacteria in your gut, the less stressed and depressed you'll feel. To keep your gut in tip-top shape, take a probiotic every day, eat your greens and stick with clean foods. Your brain, and the planet, will thank you for it!