Slow-cooked Sustainable Habits
Country Sustainability Manager, IKEA Retail Denmark
Though Monica values being able to work from home when it suits her, she discerns the worrying trend in many of our societies to maximise output. “We are not always improving our lives, happiness, health, or the planet’s health with our productivity. To hear that the home is also now a more ‘productive space’ makes me a bit sad. What kind of productivity is happening here? Is it really the kind we want?”
Many would agree that homes should be nurturing spaces. And nurture is slow. Like in a slow cooker, ‘savoury stews’ from our habits and rituals are getting richer and deeply nourishing our wellbeing. That is, if those habits and rituals inform behaviours we want to see more of.
Aware of the vital tie between our planet’s health and our own mental wellbeing, Monica suggests how we can take simple steps to make our daily actions more sustainable.
“Many behavioural psychologists argue that to make a long-lasting change in a routine or ritual, it helps to connect it to one you already have. Food is often a great entry point. Try plant-based milk in your coffee, vegan lunches on weekdays, or making a weekly meal out of fridge leftovers to reduce food waste.”
Monica stresses that although it’s a matter of huge importance, it is crucial for people not to feel completely overwhelmed by the climate crisis. “How can we feel that we have any impact as just one individual? That kind of thinking leads to a lack of action, which leads to more anxiety, and the cycle continues. So instead, kick the cycle the other way. Small actions will give you a boost of satisfaction and can propel you to take bigger actions.”
She also advocates that household members should be allowed to decide their own actions. “It leads to a greater excitement! It’s so much better than the top-down initiative!”