For me, trying to be more conscious also means being more aware of the world around me. I don’t really mean taking more notice of the news (although I do think that’s a good thing to do), but more to be more aware of who is in my world, what is in my world, how I interact with people and the environment and what products I use and the impact they have on me and the environment.
The first point is similar to the point in my previous post about saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ at the right times. Just as I want to do more of what I love and enjoy, and less of the things I don’t, I want to make sure I surround myself with people who bring me joy, and not with people who tear me down. I don’t in any way mean I would want less to do with a friend who’s going through a hard time, who might not be in the most joyful state – that person still brings me joy. But I don’t need to see perfect pictures on Facebook and Instagram, showing me how amazing their ‘real life’ is if it’s just a show and makes me feel like my life is crap in comparison.
To expand on that point a bit (even though it wasn’t really the main purpose of the post), something I find difficult is measuring up to, and comparing myself to, other people. For example, I look at friends’ houses where all of the rooms are nicely decorated and tidy, and then look at our kitchen, where the walls really need a fresh lick of paint, and the hallway, with its dark wallpaper. It’s hard to not want to have everything looking perfect and live up to my own expectations of what my home and life should be like. However, decorating the house might mean that it looked perfect, but how would I feel? Probably rushed, stressed, and like I’d spent money on something that I’d rather not prioritise right now. We still have a load of mismatched bedroom furniture, and it would look lovely if we’d replace it, but I kind of don’t care for now (and I haven’t even found what I’d like as a replacement, so I’d be buying furniture for the sake of it). It doesn’t look like a show home, but does it really matter?
As for the environment, I’d like to be more conscious about what’s in the products I’m using, both on myself and in the home for cleaning. I don’t really understand the impact of all of the chemicals you find in cleaning products and toiletries, but I would prefer to use more natural products if possible, as to my mind, it should be better for our health. A great place to get a bit more information on this is Curiously Conscious, where Besma is really knowledgeable about products and their ingredients, as well as their effects.
I already use a lot of vinegar for cleaning (it’s cheap and has antibacterial properties), but I’m hoping to try to make a few products, starting with castile soap as a base. This is in part to remove chemicals, but also to try to make sure I’m using products that haven’t been tested on animals and are environmentally friendly. Until recently I’d pretty much assumed that these days, no-one tested cosmetics on animals anymore, but a friend pointed out that I was basically completely wrong. I’d figured no-one would get away with it nowadays, but it’s still widespread practice. Until I perfect (read ‘start’!) making my own products, I’m trying to be much better with what products I buy.