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Saturday, May 15, 2010

What's The One Thing You Do?

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

















This month I'm in the throws of month two of a new demanding job, a broken computer battery (for which I can't find a replacement), a broken phone and two very very ill (potentially terminal) family members. Life is certainly not simple as of late, yet I know making teeny tiny choices to continue living a simple life, make such a huge difference. It is times like these, where you have to really focus on what you can do and accept that in this season you may not be able to achieve it all. Currently I can not blog, I can not make three healthy simple meals a day, I'm not able to use my washable toilet paper system or find the time to make my own shampoo! I can: spend time caring for sick family members each week, meet elaborate targets at work, volunteer, recycle, compost and buy fairtrade and organic, if not all local.

So today I come to you, knowledgeable readers of this blog and ask you:
What are the one or two choices you make to help you lead a green, simple and frugal lifestyle? What choices can you commit to even through the tough times?

For me the two choices I'm trying to hold onto are exercising (outdoors) every day and making one balanced & simple meal each day!

I can't wait to read your responses, I am sure they will help anyone else who feels a tad overwhelmed like I do!

21 comments:

gumboot goddess said...

the one thing I do is ride my bike everywhere. I choose not to drive -which drives (pun intended) people crazy!

Deborah said...

I try not to use anything plastic. No plastic bags, no bottles, no cups. It is really hard, but I think how my grandmother must have done without anything plastic because it wasn't invented yet!

Andrea said...

Sounds like you are doing the right things. Make sure to take care of yourself with healthy food and exercise. That will help relieve the stress and keep you healthy. Even though things are too busy to blog, reach out to friends or make sure they are reaching out to you. Hopefully these difficult times will pass, until then making the time for your family and yourself are the most important. Best wishes.

Simply Authentic said...

Hey FT, I run just about every single day after work to relax and destress (although now my coworkers and I have started working out some days at the gym). When I hear birds, I take the time to stop and notice them. And I continue to use the same "greener" version of products (laundry detergent, Klean Kanteens, food, etc) that we switched to months/years ago. My Klean Kanteen full of filtered water keeps me sane all hours of the day. ;) And I take the time to love on my family first over all the other things that need to get done within the day. PS Nothing wrong with a mental health day from work here or there either.... Keep your head and prayers lifted. I'm thinking of you and sending you a hug!

Maria said...

I make a raw green smoothie every morning: 2 pieces of fruit, your choice, and half a blender of greens, your choice. Blend with water (and ice) until smooth, and enjoy every sip! Your energy "bullet" for the day. No coffee needed!

Caitlyn Nicholas said...

When I'm overwhelmed (which is frequently) the things I focus on are using my green bags at the supermarket, baking my own bread (yes in the bread machine - but I don't use any of that awful bread mix) and focus on healthy meals, putting all spare time/energy into cooking. Life with very small kids means that a lot of the things you want to do have to be pushed aside, but if your food is good quality it helps to give you that energy to get through it all.

Paula said...

I'm not in a situation like yours at all, in fact, I've been looking for work since November. But I'm looking for something within a distance where I can commute by public transportation- I'm committed to that, and did it for nearly two years before losing my job.

I think loving your family (either by what you got born into, who you married, or who you chose to be in your family) is the most important thing, so I'm not waiting for anyone to get sick to let them know that.

Good luck with everything you are doing- it sounds like you have your priorities set correctly...hopefully work will settle down soon for you.

i love love said...

nothing really..im not quite sure with routines..there are few quite things i want to do though..im really looking forward to learning a new language, like to learn chinese perhaps or learn more to cook..

Chiot's Run said...

Growing my own food and cooking from scratch.

I find that if I do these two things I feel better and have more energy which allows me to get the rest of my stuff done.

KJ's Restart Button said...

I am new at living more responsible but if I had to do just two it would be riding my bike everywhere local and handing all clothes on line to dry.

Ducky said...

Healthy food...I get a CSA box each week and I buy local grass fed beef.

Angela said...

My situation is very different from yours, but has been quite challenging to my time and energy for the last few months. Some habits - like my shopping bags - are easy to keep regardless. But the one thing that I take a little extra time for is brewing my whole herb teas. I keep delicious versions of liver detox, high c, and my "sanity tea" (with nettle, mints and some damiana) in gallon jars in the fridge. I fill my water bottle with the one I think I'll need before I leave the house each day. The flavors comfort me and the herbs help my body work better, so it makes a huge difference in my day! Of course, I work in an herb shop one day a week, so its easy for me to get what I need....

Anonymous said...

I am on the other side of what you are going through. I discovered that relationships are the highest priority. There will be times that we have to break our routines and just do the next right thing. It could be caring for sick family members. It could be as simple as stopping to listen without opinion to a child, friend, or …. spouse to hear what they have to say. Two of the greatest qualities I see in people are building true relationships and listening more than talking. Master these two and life will become truly more satisfying. I have walked though the season of life that you are going through and will tell you that what ever the outcome, it will be give you a greater strength of character. You can and will make it through this even though at times it won’t seem like it. The inner strength of a person rises to the occasion and from experience I say that things do get better.

I hope that everything works out for your family members.

Old Nebraska Dave

Anonymous said...

Sprout. The seeds are cheap, and it takes very little time to rinse once in the morning, once at night. I use a wide mouth jar with purchased "screen" sprouting lids, but a used, clean plastic yogurt container with holes punched in the lid works well, too. You could even use a pan, just sliding the lid back enough to let the water drain out.

When thinking of healthy meals, I remember the very simple food Helen and Scott Nearing ate (don't remember if it was in _Living the Good Life_ or _Continuing the Good Life_). A "healthy meal" does not necessarily have to look like something housewives slaved over for hours in the 1950's. Think more in terms of nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

I also like to cook up a large pot of rice or bulger to leave in the fridge. It doesn't take any longer to cook a quart than it does a cup, and takes just a short time longer to bring a larger amount to a boil (not much greater energy usage). I like either with milk and a little cinnamon for breakfast, and it's easy to stir in a few other ingredients to make a cold pilaf for lunch or dinner. Unless it's the middle of winter and I've just come in from a blizzard, I don't see any particular need for a hot meal.

Hopewell said...

I've got my garden started and am trying to make myself sit down and hem or otherwise finish the edges of scrap fabric for re-usable cloth dinner napkins. I also made a huge batch of laundry soap that should see us thru the summer.

I loved the Scott Nearing books mentioned by the other commentator--it was a good one for me to read. I also remember my grandmother and great-grandmother's advice on making do.

Joanne said...

Another here who can often feel overwhelmed. The One Thing for me varies according to circumstances. I find writing a brief list each day of absolute priorities for that day helps. Focus on one; when it is done choose the next. Put a big line through finished tasks to visually remind myself that progress has been made.

The other thing is not beating myself up on the things I'm not doing. Life goes through ups and downs, as do my energy levels. I now know that having a low day or even a low week means I need to take pressure off myself for a while and that the good days will return.

Best wishes to you in your circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Its always food that I concentrate on. Very simple home cooking. Every winter 2 soups a week, like Pea and Ham, Vegetable, Chicken or Pumpkin. Also stews. They take less than 10minutes to make and happily simmers for hour or two.
What Angela said about herb teas sounds good too! I swear bye Chamomile...it has healed me several times.

Margaret said...

I started a diner when my job was deleted in Nov. 2009 and I have not stopped since. There are some things I can not do anymore...bake bread, go for long walks with my dog, hang all my laundry, make my own dog food...
but what I can do is...cook 75% of all my restaurant food from scratch, I buy local eggs and jam and support local suppliers, my veggie patch is now geared towards supplying my diner, i compost and recycle everything I can at the diner and most food left on the plate by my customers goes to my dog and chickens...it's a good life.

Anonymous said...

I think you mean "throes," not throws.

Emily on the Southern Prairie said...

(1) Cooking from home -- ideally with our own food or farmer's market food
(2) Not buying crap!

Marya said...

I bike or run everywhere, and I use a menstrual cup.