Sustainable lifestyle is NOT only about our planet – it starts with YOU

Posted by Olena Mytruk

Whenever we hear the word “sustainability,” we immediately think of the environment. But what if I told you that sustainability is so much more than protecting our planet? In fact, sustainable living starts with you – with designing a lifestyle that you can sustain for an extended period of time, with joy.

Do you remember, when you are on a plane, they always tell you that in case of lack of oxygen, you need to put on your mask first before assisting others? That’s because in order to take care of anything or anyone, you first need to take care of yourself.

Wondering why I brought this up? Because sustainability is not just about preserving the natural resources of our planet – it’s also about you preserving your resources too.

It is about designing a lifestyle that you can actually sustain for an long period of time.

And this is exactly what I want to talk about today.

What is sustainable living?

We always think of sustainability as something related to the environment.

Whenever we hear the phrases sustainable lifestyle, or sustainable living, we immediately think about how we can preserve the natural resources that our planet provides, how we can be more mindful and careful, how we can create less waste.

But sustainability is NOT just about Earth and natural resources. In fact, one of the definitions of sustainability (yes, I’m a nerd, so I like to look up the definitions of words) is the ability to be maintained at a certain rate or level.

It doesn’t say anything about what it is that needs to be maintained.

It just says that whatever it is, one is able to maintain it at a certain level or rate, and, I will add from myself, for an extended amount of time. So it is NOT only about the environment. It is also about our own lives and our ability to maintain a particular lifestyle for a long period of time – without burnout, without stress, and without overwhelm.

This is exactly what Breverie stands for.

And this is exactly what I teach students of the Life Design Academy.

Design your life with sustainability in mind

It is all about designing a life where you don’t just use your resources, but you also have a way to preserve and regenerate those resources. It is about establishing the processes to not only consume your energy, but also to regain it, to recharge your battery.

You need to know how to fill up your cup in order to maintain your lifestyle long term.

This is why I stand so strongly against any intense, rapid weight loss diets. It is just not sustainable.

Yes, it might make sense if you have a dream vacation coming up, and you bought that amazing bikini, and you desperately want to lose those 5 pounds before your vacation, and you only have one month left. It might be okay to put yourself on a calorie-deficit diet for a month.

But just be ready, that weight will come back when you return from vacation.

The same applies to your work environment too. There might be times when there are important deadlines that you need to meet, and this is when you might have to work extra hours or work during the weekend.

But don’t let it become your norm.

Such a work environment is NOT sustainable, whether it comes to you personally, or you managing your team members.

Always get to the route cause of the problem

I am dealing with a big work issue right now. And a few months ago, we brought in an experienced manager to help improve the situation and to help refocus the team on what was needed at that time.

And her management style is all about pushing people to and beyond their limits.

Several weeks ago something got broken last minute, and she called one of the team members and told him that he was not going to sleep until he fixes the problem. That guy is based in Eastern Europe, it was around midnight his time, so he ended up working until 4:00 AM in the morning to get that fix in place.

Yes, he got it fixed.

But you can imagine how exhausted he was after.

Yes, this is something you can ask someone to do once, or twice. But you cannot expect people to work like this for weeks or months. So the other day I had a conversation with this manager and we agreed that we need to fix the foundational problems instead of constantly fixing the symptoms. Because we cannot continue forcing our team to work 24/7.

It’s just not going to work.

They are so tired already that they are producing more mistakes, and it’s not helping anybody. There is a threshold after which it doesn’t make sense anymore.

It all comes back to sustainability.

When such a big force needs to be applied to any area of your life, it means that something is not exactly right in this place. Something needs to be fixed. There is some root cause that is causing this problem.

And unless you get to that root cause, unless you fix the foundational problem, you will not be able to make it sustainable. You will NOT be able to truly maintain the level of life or work that you desire.

Rest, recharge, reset, rejuvenate – both physically and mentally

Another important thing that I want to talk about is rest.

If we all agree that we need a way to recharge our battery, the obvious way to do this is to get some rest. We all know that it is very important, but we also need to be mindful of what it really means to have rest and recharge.

Sometimes when we get stressed, we think we just need to go on vacation, and it will do it. But how many times did you go on vacation and ended up checking your emails every hour?

Sitting on a beach with your laptop and fixing problems is NOT rest.

When you’re on vacation, you’re supposed to be resting. You’re supposed to be relaxing. You’re supposed to be not working, right? That’s the whole idea of a vacation.

But how many of us struggle with setting these boundaries?

So, rest is NOT about simply escaping, or sitting still. It is about letting your mind recharge.

It is about calming down, and resting mentally as much as resting physically.

Find a way to rest that works for YOU

I will give you a very quick example.

Last night when I went to bed, I was very tired. I’d had a long and busy day, and I was very ready for bed. But once I was in bed, I couldn’t fall asleep. My brain wouldn’t shut down. So I ended up laying in bed and staring at the ceiling for a couple hours, and I woke up this morning not really feeling rested.

I walked my daughter to school in the morning and decided to go for my usual morning run.

Now, running in traditional terms is the opposite of rest. It’s a physical movement, and it’s not something that we would naturally think of as an activity to rest or recover.

But when I came back home after my run, I felt so much calmer, so much more peaceful, so much more awake.

I felt rested mentally.

Those 35 minutes outside were way more restful than the night of sleep before.

So, rest is NOT necessarily about sitting in a chair or laying in bed. You just need to find your own, personal way to recharge, both physically and mentally. And sometimes you might find that unexpected activities will actually bring you that feeling of rest and recharge, while other activities that you would think would help you rest, will not actually make it any better.

It is your job to design your life in a way that will create space for your own unique restful activities.

It is YOUR job to make your lifestyle sustainable. And it is a very rewarding job, trust me!

On October 6-8, I will be speaking at the “Sustainability” panel during the Yellowco WONDER conference, and I would love to see you there! In the next few weeks, I will be giving away 2 FREE tickets to the conference, and if you’d like to win them please DM me on Instagram, and I will tell you what to do!

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