Wait a minute….this year is almost over? That felt quick! A lot of you may agree that this year seemed to fly by, and with things opening up over time, we all started to feel a little closer to normalcy in the latter part of the year, right?
As winter sets in and we get closer to the new year, this is usually a ‘slow down’ time for many. Sure, there’s a lot to wind up before you ring in the holiday season, but at the same time, the excitement of a new start has us all pumped. That being said, this is also a time when we can be a tad more careful of our eco-impact.
With all the holiday fervour, one might end up making some unsustainable choices, which can be easily avoided with a little mindfulness. Here are few quick, easy & practical tips to help you make the most of a sustainable winter, without compromising on any of the holiday fun!
As soon as winter sets in, the holiday spirit begins to catch up. From Thanksgiving to Christmas and now to New Year’s eve parties, there’s so much to look forward to & so much to celebrate! At a time like this, you may tend to feel the eco-anxiety kick in with every extravagant party you attend or host.
Thankfully, your values needn’t have to compromise on the fun:
- As an initial stepping stone, it helps to reuse the decor & party frills from the previous years. That itself is #AGoodPlaceToStart.
- If you need to buy some festive holiday decor, it’s always helpful to opt for those made of Earth-friendly and upcycled materials.
- You can also opt for reusable table upholstery and cutlery for intimate dinners & brunches!
- Celebrations are incomplete without gifts, so do be mindful of picking and endorsing only sustainable gifts that have high usability. This helps you avoid unnecessarily hoarding unwanted gifts and also allows your loved ones to stay conscious while selecting surprises for you!
- Last but not least, a lot of that mouth watering festive food often tends to get leftover, so a waste-free option is to either re-consume it yourselves or distribute it to those in need. Who knows, you may just put a smile on someone’s face!
Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love winter fashion right? From trendy jackets to warm boots, it’s such a delight to bring those warm clothes out of storage! If you also enjoy looking your best in winter gear but happen to care about your footprint, then there are quite a few ways to stay sustainably stylish!
- Firstly, bring out all your pre-owned winter clothes and have some fun mixing & matching different items. That way, you can repeat your clothes while feeling like you’ve created a brand new collection. Most sweaters and jackets come in neutral colours, so with a few statement pieces of jewellery or colourful scarves, you’ll be all set!
- If you feel the need to shop for new winter clothing, there are 2 ways to do it ethically:
- Shop thrift! Several second-hand or thrift stores tend to have unique, refurbished pieces and some beautiful vintage collections. With so many rare gems to be found, it’s sure worth a try.
- If you must buy something new, invest in local, ethical fashion brands that use plant-based materials, natural dyes & other responsible production methods. This will also give you a chance to slowly transition out of fast fashion and make your closet more sustainable over time.
We can all relate that one of the biggest dilemmas of winter is dry skin & hair. A common condition, winter dryness apparently affects almost 48% of the world population. While a little seasonal dryness is easily manageable, if the condition persists, it could lead to flaky & peeling skin, rashes and in extreme cases even infections.
Usually, this is a time that has us reaching out for a host of over the counter cold creams, moisturisers and bathing lotions that might be laden with chemicals. Not only are these harmful to the skin in the long run, but also leech toxins into our wastewater stream. Additionally, the plastic packaging these arrive in, add to the mounting landfill pressures.
Thankfully, nature always has a solution for all our problems. One of the most effective treatments for winter dryness can be found in natural skin & body care essentials. From organic lip oils to coconut milk soaps and Earth-friendly moisturisers, you can find your end-to-end solutions by exploring brands that formulate natural self-care essentials. If you’re confused about what may help your dry skin, here’s a quick AM/PM routine to help you out:
- Start your morning by cleansing with a mild, natural face wash & pat it dry
- Next, apply a hydrating face oil made with natural herbs & essential oils evenly across the face & neck
- Use a jade roller or gua sha to depuff the skin. This step also ensures that the moisture from your oils is absorbed well.
- Next, use a pure rose water spray to soothe the skin further
- Before you leave the house, always remember to use organic sunscreen!
- To begin with, take off your makeup after a long day. This is important to keep your skin clean
- Next, use a mild cleanser & face scrub to exfoliate well
- Next use an organic toner
- Your next step should be to use a hydrating serum to prep your face before bedtime
- Post that, layer with a lightweight, natural moisturiser, oil or night cream
- Also hydrate your lips with a soothing balm or lip oil.
For many of us, one of the highlights of the winter season involves cosying up at home with warm, fuzzy blankets and some comfort food. Surely, leaving the warmth of your bed in the mornings seems like a task, and stepping out of the house seems unnecessary when it’s so cosy indoors.
While this is truly a winter lover’s delight, keeping your indoor spaces warm, especially through heaters can rake up your energy consumption. Many homes up North also now have central heating systems which consume large amounts of electricity. Additionally, water heaters and geysers are also used abundantly in winters.
- One of the most effective ways to stay conscious about your energy consumption is to ensure your house is well insulated. If you live in extremely cold regions, it helps to have your windows sealed when the cool wind blows. This will naturally keep your indoor spaces warmer, and reduce the need for 24x7 heating mechanisms.
- Next, you can also be mindful to keep your geysers on for only as long as it would take to heat up your water. Often, we leave such devices on for longer periods, forgetting to turn them off in a timely manner. This could lead to unnecessary waste of energy too.
- If you have heating systems installed in the house, do a round of checks on any gas or air leakages that may be taking place. A quick audit of all mechanical systems before the winter sets in can help prevent excess energy consumption due to leaks.
- Lastly, don’t forget to bring out those warm razaais, fluffy throws, shawls, socks and indoor sweaters to keep yourself well-covered and warm inside the house too! Keeping yourself layered and naturally warm can also help reduce the load of energy consumption through standing heaters and the like.
Now, we know we saved the best for the last! Isn’t it true, that the best part of the year-end is that annual winter vacation you plan with so much excitement? With the weather being so great, it’s likely that you’re tempted to take at least one weekend getaway to a nearby hill station, if not a grander holiday.
Well, the beauty of sustainability is, it can be practised anywhere! While you enjoy that much-needed vacation, it helps to be equipped with a few essentials that can keep you waste-free during your journey.
- Simple acts like carrying reusable water bottles and foldable cutlery can ensure you don’t end up generating extra waste from single-use plastics.
- For women, it can be especially convenient to keep a menstrual cup or reusable pads handy. It also takes away the dilemma of disposing of your period waste in transit.
- Additionally, you can gear up with Earth-friendly travel essentials such as dental tablets, bamboo hygiene kits and reusable shaving or grooming kits!
- If you’re travelling locally, try opting for a scenic train ride over air travel. It helps keep your carbon footprint down and lets you take in the beautiful view while you’re at it!
- Most importantly, don’t forget to follow all Covid protocols. Keep an extra set of reusable masks handy, and invest in a natural sanitiser for your backpack!
If you come to think of it, staying sustainable in any season is quite easy with just a few conscious swaps and responsible steps are taken. We sincerely hope that while you make the most of this beautiful time of the year, you also continue to ace your attempts at sustainable living.
But, most importantly, don’t forget to have fun and take a moment to express gratitude for the beautiful year that went by! ❤️