Depression taught me to love my Earth

DSC_0250.jpg

When I was first diagnosed with depression, I learned through therapy much of my despair and hopelessness centered on two major factors: feeling detached among imaginary borders (countries) as a US migrant post-2016 and helplessness and anger watching the planet deteriorate. I think I cried about trees for at least three therapy sessions (lol) and for months I panicked about the inevitable climate refugee crisis. I still worry about everything, but medication and CBT has helped me use my pain in more constructive ways. And in the process of learning to help and love my planet these past couple of years, the planet has taught me to help and love myself. This #EarthDay, I wanted to share some beginner *green* moves/tips for anyone seeking a more sustainable, healthy life. Hope someone gets something out of it.

- Read a lot of environmental literature. I know I talk about it way too often, but Richard Powers' "The Overstory" honestly helped kickstart my feeling grounded and one with the world for the first time in my life. I have a couple of other recommendations, so hit me up on Goodreads.
- Dedicate one day per week just for recycling. It's usually Sunday morning for me. Put on a record and fold those boxes!
- Consider alternative or intermittent fasting or change up your approach to food consumption. Highly recommend reading "The Complete Guide to Fasting" by Fung and Moore. Anyone with pre-diabetes/diabetes/metabolic syndrome should look into it too!
- Take the train or walk if ever possible. 
- If you deal with screen fatigue and can't get into e-readers, opt for library books, purchase used books or borrow! I usually buy used books from independent sellers online selling via Amazon/Barnes & Noble or visit local stores and ask for their used books collection. Also coworkers and friends. Use 'em!
- Say goodbye to plastic bottles and bags and straws and what-have-you. If you use totes at Sprouts/TJ's you'll usually get a little discount too. I have a few foldable/reusable totes in my work bag and car at all times. Drinks are still something I need to work on because I often forget to bring my own glass to-go cups to coffee shops/the office. 
- WATER! Time your showers. My showers are so short lol (7 min). Gone are the 30-minute teenage shower days. And hand wash dishes/laundry more often than you machine wash.
- Get to know your surroundings without distractions. I love a good podcast in my ear or Lizzo album getting me hyped during my runs and walks, but I've started to make time for electronics-free escapades to just take in the world around me. That could be lunch at a favorite restaurant or, as I prefer it, in the solitude of a quiet park trail early Saturday morning. For all you productivity junkies and workaholics out there, that might sound terrifying. Like you're wasting precious time doing nothing. Try it out. Not having social apps (Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat) on my phone has also added 3-4 hours to my day, if that's something you want to look into.

Unapologetically yours,
Fiza