Getting starting with environmental wellness.

A dense circle of trees with sunlight streaming through. Text reads: Getting started with environmental wellness, by Tim Grivois-Shah, Ed.D.

-by Timothy (Tim) Grivois, Ed.D.

The more I work with caring professionals, the more I see how self-care is a laboratory that shows us from the inside out how giving and caring works. Working through the Eight Dimensions of Wellness myself, I’ve often noticed how my own goals often support everyone around me in surprising and beautiful ways.

One opportunity to connect your self-care to those you serve might be to explore Environmental Wellness. Environmental Wellness has two components:

  1. Living in ways that respect the earth. 
  2. Recognizing how our physical environment affects our well-being.

The first—living in ways that respect the earth—is about recycling, reducing waste, and keeping nature clean. The second—recognizing how our physical environment affects our well-being—is about creating and maintaining healthy spaces for living and working.

Living in ways that respect the Earth

One opportunity to increase our connection with environmental wellness is to live in ways that respect the earth. If you’re like me, I’ve always tried to put my aluminum cans in the recycle bin, and I do my best to remember my reusable bags when I go grocery shopping.

However, when I began to think of these habits as self-care, I realized that recycling and reusing bags could be more than just my small contribution to the environment. Riding my bike to the store instead of driving reduces some level of harm, however slightly. And, picking up litter on the bike path increases the beauty that everyone gets to experience, however subtly.

I’ve come to meet many people who have always had a powerful connection to the environment. They’ve often shared with me how living in ways that respect the Earth is a source of deep personal satisfaction. If Environmental Wellness is calling to you, perhaps today is a good time to do something. 

Here is a website with 50 small actions you might consider as part of your approach to Environmental Wellness.

Recognizing how our physical environment affects our wellbeing

Like many people, I work better with open spaces with plenty of natural light. I like having the choice of sitting or standing. I know that having a plant to water at lunch and watching it grow adds my workspace. Most importantly, I’ve come to understand that just because I live with ADHD does not mean I am a person who enjoys a cluttered desk. To the contrary, I am focused and present when my space is neat and clean. For me, the most powerful habit connected to my everyday Environmental Wellness looks like this:

Whenever I finish an activity, I set a timer for 90 seconds and clean up anything I can reach with my hands.

-Tim, every time he ends a task and before he begins a new one.

Perhaps you’re ready to take even more action. In the last two month, I’ve built some shelves to organize the clutter on my dresser drawer. I took half a day to clean my storage space. A few months ago, I framed a drawing my daughter made for me so that the art in my space looked as important as the person who made it is to me. 

Taking action to improve the space in which we live and work are powerful ways to connect to environmental wellness and to improve our overall well-being.

Here is a website with 50 ways to declutter your space.

Attending to our environmental wellness is an important part of being healthy and happy. As you reflect on the different environments in which you live and work, I wish you many opportunities to take actions that respect the Earth and to improve the spaces you are in.

Tim Grivois wearing an orange bike helmet. A Bike path is to the left, and mountains are in the background.
While I’m not sure what was happening with my helmet buckle, I’m certain that being outside by the river path was good for me!

Finishing up this post after a 45 minute ride along a beautiful bike path here in Tucson, and feeling grateful for the natural beauty of where I live. Let me know what you do to maintain your Environmental Wellness!

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