Working on your mental health to heal your Not Good Enough Stuff is important. However, if you are not working towards clean living, you’re missing something important. Clean living for your body and environment are a huge part of healing. Most people know that the body and the mind are connected. Often, that is where it stops, just a mere acknowledgment of that fact. Our physical environment greatly impacts our mental and physical health. So, if you aren’t practicing clean living, you aren’t healing all that you could.
For many years, I worked on my mental health healing but would often feel stuck because my body wasn’t healing. I knew nothing about clean living. For my generation, most of us were not taught anything about the chemicals we used and were around every day. That was not our fault. Clean living wasn’t something that was given much thought. Growing up, clean living wasn’t even a term in my world.
As an adult, I learned better but still didn’t change what I’d always done. Clean living seemed like something for crazy hippies, which I now laugh at when I am called that. Going more natural just seemed too overwhelming and too far “out there” when I began. Not changing when I knew better was completely my fault. At the same time, it is incredibly difficult to change to a life of clean living.
Lack of Clean Living and Increased Diseases
My mind tends to wander into many different topics that pique my interest. One topic that kept returning was how there are so many more diseases and health complications than ever before. In my mind, this had to be a result of many not following a life of clean living. It seems as though cancer is more present than it has ever been and that’s quite interesting to me. Is there a connection to this and clean living?
What could be causing this? Research is typically boring to me, unless it’s something I am very passionate about. I had no choice but to do some research to gain a better understanding of how unclean I was living. It was important to better understand what was harming me or could harm me in the future.
Some of the things I learned that could be unhealthy include anything containing “fragrance”, foam products (think of your bed where you spend so much time), anti-perspirant, and almost all of the chemicals we use to clean our homes. We have replaced all of our cleaning supplies over the last year and, guess what? Our house is cleaner because it looks the same, but lacks all of the chemicals left by the old cleaning products. There will be blog posts in the future about the different products we use, but I encourage you to do your own research in your quest for clean living.
Gaining an understanding of how much my body reacts to what I not only eat, but also every single thing I put on my body. It’s also important to understand that you may not even be aware of some of the ways your body is reacting. The reason for that is because your body has spent years fighting against all of these things you’ve used, so that it has become the norm for it.
There are endless books, blogs and resources on the topic of clean living. Instead of pointing you to all of those, I’m just going to explain my process. That process worked and continues to work well for me. First, I started to just become aware of everything I was putting on my body while beginning my journey to clean living.
It took a while for me to actually make the changes once I became aware of what these chemicals were actually doing to my body. I’m sure you all know how difficult it is to make such a major change in any area of your life, regardless of how severely you may be damaging yourself. I believe that is the reason so many people don’t attempt a life of clean living.
This blog post is not intended to teach you how to clean your physical environment, but to merely become aware of the changes you can make. You can’t change anything until you are keenly aware of its existence. So, now you may be somewhat aware of what I mean by clean living.
5 steps to prepare for clean living:
- Take inventory of all of the things around your home that you touch or that you breathe in. Make a list of those. ie: candles, air fresheners, laundry and dish detergent, cleaning supplies, personal care items, etc
- Start reading the labels from step one.
- Research the ingredients. There will be tons of things you’ve never heard of and most are pretty harmful to our bodies.
- Decide which products you want to begin replacing with healthier, safer options. DO NOT try to change everything at once. It’s too overwhelming and you won’t stick with it. Try one or two a month at most.
- Research alternative products and begin trying some out!
Self-Compassion While Preparing for Clean Living
The most important thing in this process is to allow yourself a lot of time and grace. Trust me here. As soon as I began the process of clean living, I tried to change everything all at once. Lots of money was spent by trying to replace it all at once. After doing that, I had to spend a lot of money trying so many new products.
Finding new products that work for you can be time-consuming and expensive. Again, that is why I say DO NOT try to change everything at once. More realistically, you should try to find one safe replacement at a time. You may have to try a few brands or types of the new product, but, once you find something you like, you are set!
Please understand that there is no time limit as to how long this should take you to do. My process began in 2015. In 2021, I am still working to find more ways to make my environment as safe as possible.
I’m doubtful that I’ll ever have every single thing I own that is the safest and healthiest, but I guarantee it is a million times better than it ever was. Not only that, my family and I very rarely get sick. Before I began this clean-up process, I was sick more often than not and had been since I was a very young child.
Are You Capable of Cleaner Living?
Does this process seem overwhelming? Are you thinking that it may be very costly to do? Wondering if you can really commit to this process? Those questions and probably the others swarming in your mind are all good and logical questions to ask.
Answers to these questions are fairly simple. First off, you get to decide your own timeline to prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. Remember, there is NO SET TIME PERIOD in which you “should” complete this. It’s an ongoing process that can go as slow as needed for you to be successful.
Secondly, you might be quite surprised to learn that there are many safe, healthy alternatives that are actually cheaper than what you’re currently using. This is especially true for cleaning supplies! Distilled white vinegar can become your best friend when making your own cleaning products.
Finally, yes you can commit to this process. Much like the first answer, you get to create the route you take in ANY WAY that is easily manageable for you. Really spend some time thinking about how much energy and money you can feasibly and easily spend.
Be honest with yourself. If you know that you tend to jump head-first into things to only lose motivation, then set a very firm boundary with yourself. Boundaries for this can be something like, “I will only try to replace one item every three or six months.” Another good boundary could be to only replace products once you are empty. That prevents you from throwing away a lot of money.
Clean Living Buddy
Find a friend or family member to begin this process with you. Buddy systems are almost always a good idea. Benefits of having a “buddy” include decreased time trying new products if you are similar to your buddy and cost-sharing on trying new products.
As with any time I recommend the “Buddy System,” make sure that your buddy is on the same page as you. It’s perfectly ok that your best friend or family member might not really be the best fit for this. Finding somebody at work can even work.
Just remember that not everybody is ready to make changes. That’s ok. We all have to follow our own paths when we are ready. I can remember different times in my life when I thought certain people would be a great “buddies” for this or that. Realizing that my passion for whatever the “it” was overshadowed my ability to see that my “buddy” wasn’t really as invested in the “it” as was I.
There will be many more blog posts in which my husband and I talk about the products we’ve tried and the ones we actually use. For now, that is not important. Again, remember that the important part of this process I’ve explained is merely acknowledging what you currently use.
Truly doing this process, will allow you to clean up your environment and your body. Don’t you want to decrease your chances of cancer, respiratory issues and all of the other things that many researchers have connected to the chemicals we use?
For my husband and myself, one of our main motivations for this is our precious little boy. We want to have the healthiest lives possible for our baby, while teaching him to do the same. Just think about how different our world could be if we all learned how to keep our environments clean in childhood! I just have to believe the result would be a healthier world for us!
To read about healing your mental environment, click here to read more Not Good Enough Stuff blog posts.