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May 2020 was a memorable month for us all. We were amidst a lockdown caused by a global pandemic and we were being urged to find a ‘new normal’, fight for our planet and for justice. There was a lot to contend with, and even more to think about. During this month, I, along with some willing participants, attempted the inaugural Save The Planet, Save Yourself 30-day challenge. The whole aim is that for 30 days, you do one thing that benefits you and your life, and one think that benefits the planet and our lives as a part of the whole human race. Tasks can be big or small, but they are all steps towards a more sustainable and fulfilling life.

Here is a look back at what we achieved, what we learnt and what we plan to do moving forward.

My Experience:

Living in lockdown certainly came with its own set of obstacles and I would have liked to have done more with my 30-day challenge, but some things were not possible. Despite this, I managed to at least make a start at all of my tasks and I am hoping to finish them before the year is through. Perhaps I will do a second live run of the challenge before 2020 is over?! Watch this space 🙂

Relaxing. Optimistic. Grateful.

Challenge Participant – May 2020.

These were my planned tasks for the month, some I completed better than others but I am still feeling the benefits of putting time aside each day to focus on something other than work!

DAYFOR MEFOR ENVIRONMENT
1Wake with no alarmOne month vegan meal plan
2Sort DVD CollectionRead environmental book
3Sort kitchen cupboardsShare a new vegan recipe on social media
4Plan future blog contentSwitch to sustainable loo roll
5Self pamper dayResearch seasonal produce
6Start a gratefulness journalCalculate carbon footprint
7Submit an article to be publishedLearn about local recycling
8Plan a short filmWays to reduce carbon footprint
9Sort book collectionSwitch to bamboo toothbrush
10Pick back up couch to 5kmLocal volunteering opportunities
11Get back into bakingSwitch to reusable wraps
12Increase flexibilityDesign wildlife garden/balcony
13WordPress SEO courseRecipe for green cleaners
14Tutorial for adobe software Learn about local eco/conservation groups
15Set up book club on SWBCTake 10 photos that show the beauty of your environment
16Sort clothes for charitySwitch to loose leaf tea
17Email people for book info/quotesIdentify wasteful products (razors, etc.) 
18Create new sm imagesResearch alternatives for around home
19Sort RKA inboxShort course/research a new topic
20Create tshirt yarn from clothingResearch ecoperiods 
21Make plan/timeline for bookResearch local zero waste shops 
22Plan SWBC podcastTry out shampoo bars
23Digitize CD collectionPlan food to bulk buy and containers to use
24Learn to make knotted rugsResearch freezing/preserving foods
25Scrapbook of adventuresBatch cook some meals
26Start a redesign for blogPlogging (pick up 20 pieces of rubbish)
27Get a guest blogger for SWBCResearch eco DIY projects (pinterest)
28Get back into paintingStart a small, upcycled herb garden
29Reread favourite bookWatch a documentary and share it on social media
30Create rebeccahansell.comCreate reusable cotton pads 

They are all quite varied and some are much bigger commitments than others, but I feel good about the 30 days and what I achieved in that time. On top of doing these tasks, throughout the month me and my #wonderfulsupportiveboyfriend found ourselves talking about the future and what we want to work towards, both in our personal lives and also in ways that we can make our lives more environmentally friendly. It was really nice to talk through ideas and dreams, and to understand that we really are on the same page – which was an unintended bonus that I didn’t expect to get out of the challenge.

You can see my vlogs about my attempts on the YouTube channel, some of these tasks I will be building on, and hopefully complete by the end of the year. I will make sure I add to the vlogs and go into more detail, so that you can join in with the task too! (Make sure you subscribe to the channel to never miss out on a new release!)

The main thing that I took from the 30 day challenge is that change isn’t going to happen overnight, and it’s not going to happen accidentally. You have to educate yourself, and be willing to identify your own shortcomings or failings. You need to be open to change, and advice from those who have done what you are aiming to achieve. I have learnt that so much of our waste comes purely from habits that, until we take the time to stop and re-evaluate, have their impact go unnoticed. I have also learnt that taking time for the things you enjoy, hobbies, books, relaxing or sleeping in – is a hugely important part of having a fulfilling and sustainable life.

You can’t save the planet if you are burnt out. Simple as that.

Challenge Participant – May 2020.

Through thinking about what really matters to me, I have taken the time to think about what I want to achieve. I have thought about my impact and also about my legacy. I feel more confident in the direction of my life, and my life with my partner. My goals are clearer and I can see a path to a life that is what we have always hoped for. That is a pretty great feeling and something that I will take with me long after the 30 day challenge has ended.

Your Experience:

It is important to note that I was not doing this challenge alone! It has been so great to hear about what you have been up to and what steps you are taking towards a more fulfilling and sustainable life.

I think it was the kick I needed. I always talk about doing things and then with work etc, make excuses and don’t do anything. Having something to commit to made it easier.

Challenge Participant – May 2020

We’ve had some great steps taken to help the planet, including:

  • Recycling
  • Using bars of soap instead of bottles
  • Switching to plastic-free detergent & dishwasher tablets to reduce packaging waste
  • Switching to refillable deodorant, which comes in compostable packaging
  • Encouraging birds and wildlife into the garden, through installing feeders and a bird bath
  • Replacing cling film with reusable products
  • Buying local food, using a farm shop delivery for meat and seasonal veg
  • Watching TV programmes about plastic waste and the treatment of migrant workers on produce farms
  • Evaluating household waste to reduce amount going to landfill
  • Taking bottles to the dump for efficient recycling
  • Filling the green bin weekly for collection
  • Eating at least 1 meat-free meals a week
  • Using collected rain water to water plant pots and hanging baskets
  • Layering up instead of turning up the heating
  • Only using cars when absolutely necessary
  • Swapping to vegan cosmetics
  • Grouping online shops for less deliveries.

You have also been doing a great job at looking after yourselves – which is even more important at the moment. By taking time for yourself and doing the things that will ease your mind, you are on your way to a more fulfilling life.

  • Making time to relax in the garden most days
  • Subscribing to a meal service to save time and increase nutrition
  • Make time to read more
  • Commit to losing the excess weight through eating better and taking up exercise
  • Finishing off DIY projects around the home and the garden
  • Using up scrap wood to create home-carpentry projects
  • Reading a recommended book
  • Baking more treats!
  • Doing crosswords with your partner
  • Catching up on your favourite TV series’
  • Making the garden cosy to relax in for those summer evenings
  • Growing herbs, fruit and veg for yourself
  • Keeping a positivity journal
  • Going for a timed run on the race day of a cancelled event that had been trained for.

Relaxed. Happy. Calm.

Challenge Participant – May 2020

You have all done incredibly well, and even if it got a little tough to stay on track for 30 days whilst living through a pandemic – you did something, that is always better than nothing.

You rock.

But now what?

If you weren’t able to join us for this first round of the challenge, then fear not! Whoever signs up to our mailing list will receive the download links for everything you need to do the challenge. Make sure you tag us in any social media posts, or email us through an update of how you are getting on! We will also try and do another live round of the challenge later on in the year, so you can always give it another go if lockdown got in the way a little bit.

The main thing is that you take the good habits and realisations with you beyond the 30 days. Found an alternative to something? Keep using that. Picked up an old hobby? Keep finding the time. The only way to live a sustainable and fulfilling life is to keep trying. You are doing so well, it would be a shame to give up now.

Feel free to comment below to tell me more about your attempts at the challenge, or any alternatives that you have embraced in your day-to-day life and make sure that you share this blog, and the challenge, with anyone in your networks that you think might like to take part.

Until next time, keep being awesome.

SWBC x

Written by Rebecca Hansell for SWBC Blog.

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