For many Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, planting a garden and curating houseplants was a great way to stay connected with nature while staying at home. Today, consumers continue to place hefty seed orders, showing that the desire to garden remains more than a coronavirus-era curiosity. But the fact remains: with many being beckoned back to the office or invited to social gatherings, it can be difficult to keep up a green thumb and maintain a busier schedule.
If you want to continue enjoying the joys of the garden as the world marches on, here are five unique ways you can maintain a focus on flora in your daily life.
Smell the Roses
Scent is one of the most alluring components of a homegrown garden. And fortunately, there are many ways to incorporate natural fragrances into your life to keep your nose in the garden. Candles, diffusers, and room sprays made from organic essential oils can instantly transport your mind into your yard—and help lift your mood on a day when you’re stuck in the office.
If there’s a particular garden scent you want to enjoy—and share with others—consider wearing a top-shelf perfume that embodies plant life. The key here is to choose a product that is light, yet long-lasting for a true-to-life garden experience. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue for Women is a popular perfume that layers green apple, citrus, cedar, jasmine, and white rose to create a multidimensional garden vibe.
Serve Some Salad
If you established a hearty vegetable garden throughout the pandemic, don’t let your hard work go to waste. Instead, share your harvest with the friends and family you can now share meals with.
Next time you attend a dinner party, be the first to volunteer to make a fresh salad that matches the theme of the meal. An avocado, strawberry, and spinach salad is a flavorful way to enhance a summer cookout. Or, if you’re planning a pizza night, delight your fellow diners with a fresh-picked Tuscan kale salad with garlic and lemon accents.
Dig Up a Plant-Friendly Audiobook
If listening to podcasts was another favorite pandemic pastime for you, there’s a good chance you’ve caught up with all your favorite titles. But if you’ve run out of programs to listen to, you can keep your ears happy by listening to audiobooks about the natural world.
For example, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben offers a unique look at how forests communicate and grow as a unit. Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer is another favorite that looks at the fascinating history and microscopic biomes of moss.
Often available for free through your public library—and apps like Libby—this genre of audiobooks will plant deep seeds in your mind about the flora throughout our world. What’s better, is you can listen to them while tending to less exciting tasks—such as commuting.
If your gardening days introduced you to a plant that you’d want to carry with you everywhere you go, there’s likely a botanical jewelry piece out there with your name on it. A quick browse on Etsy will reveal all types of flowers, herbs, and mosses preserved in resin to create one-of-a-kind necklaces, rings, or bracelets. And if you’re feeling up to the challenge, there are many DIY guides online that can teach you how to make botanical jewelry using clippings from your own garden.
With these accessories, you’ll be able to keep the spirit of gardening with you wherever you go. And in some cases, the jewelry may serve as an interesting conversation piece—and an opportunity to share your gardening stories with others.
Break Out of the Gym
While gardening is a great way to stay active, it’s not always the most convenient gym. But if your gym is too drab or uninspiring, there are plenty of ways you can get the best of both worlds.
Rather than heading to your local fitness center, do a quick search of all the possible natural spots near you to burn calories. A sunrise hike in the countryside or a mountainside bike ride, for instance, can be a great way to shake up your exercise regimen. On your journeys, pay attention to the plants you see—you might spot some unfamiliar flora that could be a welcome addition to your garden at home.
The great thing about being a gardener? You don’t have to rush. Just like plants take time to sprout, it can take time to incorporate nature into your daily life. While some seeds may not take, you’ll find the solutions that bring sunlight and greenery into your world.
What Is a Zero-Waste Lifestyle?
Perhaps you’ve heard of a zero-waste lifestyle and how it can help ease the burden at local landfills and help the environment, but you’re not quite sure what it entails. Zero-waste is a simple concept that means eliminating as much waste as possible from your home — and your life. It may seem challenging at first, but once you get the hang of buying products that promote sustainability over waste, you’ll be well on your way to dramatically cutting back on the amount you toss in the trash each week.
The main goal of the zero-waste lifestyle is to cut down on the amount of waste you bring home and subsequently toss out into the environment. The best way to determine where to start is to look at the products you use and see if there are viable substitutes. Since the lifestyle is becoming more mainstream every day, many companies offer options with sustainability in mind.
Go room by room and take note of the things you use on a daily basis that come in less-than-ideal materials or packaging. For instance, in the kitchen you’ll likely find dishsoap in a plastic bottle, plastic or metal cooking utensils and paper products such as napkins or paper towels. Most of these can be replaced with bamboo alternatives such as a block of dishwashing soap, bamboo utensils and bamboo paper products. Instead of buying bottles of water, either invest in a filter or perhaps a water ionizer to cut back on plastic waste. While many local areas have a recycling facility, it still takes many years to break down the products or process them into something new.
In the bathroom, you can replace liquid shampoo and conditioner with bars of the same product and invest in a bamboo brush for your hair, rather than a plastic one. The market for bamboo and sustainable products is ever-expanding, so it’s become more commonplace to products in your local shops, if you simply know where to look. If your stores don’t carry them, perhaps you can make a suggestion to management.
Part of a zero-waste lifestyle also includes sustainability and that means investing in products that have minimal impact on the environment. For example, get some reusable grocery bags rather than use the plastic ones given out at stores. Do your research into what fabrics go into bedding or towels, and opt for ones that have a lesser impact and don’t contribute to deforestation.
Benefits of Bamboo
Bamboo is a sustainable material that can be made into several products, including paper. Many places now offer bamboo paper towels and napkins, for one. The beauty of bamboo is that it’s self-renewing, meaning once it’s cut down to make products, it doesn’t need to be replanted, it’ll replenish on its own. In fact, some varieties of bamboo have been known to grow three feet in a single day. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to use the material instead of cutting down trees that can take decades to grow back. Bamboo also produces more oxygen than trees and it’s extremely versatile.
Pay Attention to Packaging
One of the ways the zero-waste lifestyle helps contribute to less waste is through offering products in reusable containers that serve multiple purposes or come in biodegradable packaging that breaks down much quicker than its plastic or cardboard counterparts. For example, charcoal toothpaste comes in a jar with a lid that can then be used for storing small accessories, such as earrings or thumbtacks. In the absence of finding these types of packaging, it’s a good idea to look for those that are recyclable at the bare minimum.
Adopting a zero-waste lifestyle is a great way to cut down on the waste in landfills but it’s also beneficial to the planet in more ways than one. It may take a bit of fine-tuning in the beginning, but the more you get used to the practices, the easier it’ll be to make your way towards a low- or no-waste household.