Chronic illness is incredibly debilitating. It sucks the life out of you and often times, your joy as well. It makes the most mundane tasks arduous affairs. However, I am determined to preserve my joy and even expand it. Going eco friendly and more waste free has helped me do that. Here’s how!
1. It gives me a sense of being helpful where I otherwise face a lot of guilt. In helping preserve our planet, I feel as if I’m a part of my community again. I like to buy my art and products locally sourced. This means I still get to interact with other humans and I feel good about knowing my money is helping people pursue their dreams and goals.
2. It gives me a higher sense of purpose. I experience regular flare ups in symptoms; to the point I’m stuck at home or even in my bed. However, I take comfort knowing I’m reducing waste going into the world. Even when I’m really sick, it’s still easy enough to utilize my reusable water bottle so I’m not going through plastic bottles. If I have leftover makeup on, I use my reusable makeup clothes to remove it and cleanse my face with biodegradable products. These small moves add up to big impact! It feels wonderful to be proactive in a bigger cause. Despite all the grief I feel from my reduced quality of life, this helps restore my sense of purpose.
3. It helps me connect with others who share my interests. I’ve joined some online communities/groups who also want to help our planet. I am able to socialize from home on bad days! I live in Wisconin so winters are brutal, but this summer I’m excited to also interact with others at my local farmers market.
4. Doing good deeds instills peace within me. I can use my products and feel comfort knowing I am drastically reducing my impact on the environment. My ultimate goal is to be as zero waste as possible, meaning no plastic use or harsh chemicals where I’m able to avoid them.
5. It feels glorious to focus on something I can do regardless of my illness. It provides ample distraction from my symptoms, as some of these changes do take more concentration. For example, at the grocery store, I closely examine packaging. Is this recyclable? Can I purchase this item without any packaging? Produce for example, I bring my own produce bags as well as my own reusable geocery bags. I’m no longer throwing away a heap of plastic bags. There’s something incredibly fulfilling about being able to contribute in a positive way while sick. Additionally, I love the inclusivity of being part of a bigger picture.
There are many ways to feel a more fulfilled sense of purpose while chronically sick. Making changes to help Earth has really helped me do that and I hope this offers some motivation, insight, or hope to others. Do what you can to make a difference. Any amount of change is better than none!