With the pandemic still on the forefront of our minds, it can be hard to think of ways to reduce waste, especially when life has become so stressful.
While I am really passionate about the environment, my mental health issues can make it harder to think deeply about how to reduce my impact.
Below is a list of ideas I have compiled to help us be gentle on the environment while still looking after our own mental health.

– Owning a pet
While this can be great for one’s mental health, if certain measures are not taken, the environment can be negatively affected.
I adopted a cat from a shelter; not only does this enable me to receive lots of cuddles, but it also reduces the number of ‘unwanted’ animals without families.
Some great ways to reduce the environmental impact include:
• Using biodegradable litter – the one I buy is available in bulk and is made from recycled wood chips called CATMATE.
• Using biodegradable litter tray liners
• Rotating my cat’s access to toys rather than constantly buying new ones – this means that he thinks there is a constant stream of new toys coming into the house, but it’s just because he’s forgotten what we already have.

– Keeping the house clean
When my mental health is in decline, it can be hard to keep on top of general cleaning tasks, so I like to make it as easy as possible.
• Eco-friendly products can be expensive. To save money, I buy these products in bulk when they are on sale: items such as natural surface cleaner and biodegradable wipes. Buying bars of soap instead of plastic soap containers can also help one to reduce their impact on the environment.

– Reducing food waste
There are days when I just do not feel up to cooking. There are things I do to prepare for some of my harder days.
• Buying frozen ready meals in compostable or sustainable packaging. There is no food wastage and keeping them frozen means that they stay fresh until I’m ready. Buying ready-made soups in tins means that I can still have serves of vegetables and be able to recycle all of the packaging in the yellow bin.

– Walking
• I still drive to work due to distance, but I park further away from the office. Not only does is it a little kinder on the environment, but it also helps me to get my body’s moving and releases endorphins to help me feel a little bit better.

– Recycling medication packets
• To help me manage my mental health issues, I have medication prescribed by my doctor. These come in blister packs which, unlike the cardboard boxes, are difficult to recycle. However, there are now initiatives combat this. To find out more, visit https://help.au.terracycle.com/hc/en-au/articles/4411217821325-How-can-I-recycle-blister-packs-

Perhaps these seem like small efforts, but if everyone can make a little change, the environment will be much better in the long run.

Georgie Waters is an award-winning writer and recently completed a Graduate Certificate of Creative and Professional Writing at Griffith University. Within the next 12 months, she aims to complete her novel manuscript while still working full time. Through her writing, Georgie advocates to reduce the stigma of mental illness, including clinical obsessive compulsive disorder with which she is diagnosed.
To contact Georgie, please visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/georgie-waters-writer/