Your overall well-being is closely tied to health of your environment. The environmental dimension of wellness includes trying to live in harmony with the earth by understanding the impact of your interaction with nature and your personal environment, and taking action to protect the world around you.
Here are steps you can take to improve your environmental wellness:
Tips to be a sustainability steward
— Stick to reusable water bottles. Extra credit points if you use glass or stainless steel.
— When possible, eat local. Take advantage of local farmers’ markets, CSAs, and restaurants that serve local foods. Not only do local foods have more nutrients due to usually being consumed closer to harvest, eating local foods also saves a lot of pollution caused by transportation.
— Turn it off. Whether it’s a faucet while you’re brushing your teeth or the TV when you leave the room, if you aren’t using something turn it off. Doing so will save a lot of water and energy. Added bonus: It will also lower your bills.
— Make your travel environmentally friendly. When possible walk, ride your bike, or take public transportation.
— Clean green. Using natural or homemade cleaning products is better for you, your home, pets, and the environment. Most household cleaners have a lot of toxic chemicals in them. Check out our Pinterest board for more green cleaning ideas.
— Stop your junk mail. Remove yourself from any unnecessary mailing lists and contact companies to receive information electronically, when possible.
— Use reusable shopping bags. Keep a stash in your car so that you never forget them. Also, take any extra plastic sacks you might have lying around back to the grocery store. Many accept plastic grocery bags for recycling.
— Recycle. Take advantage of campus and community opportunities to recycle all types of materials. Recycle small electronics, batteries, print cartridges, clothing, and shoes at Healthy You, Healthy Earth on November 14.
However, environmental wellness encompasses more than just sustainability. Anyone and anything that surrounds you can affect your environmental wellness.
- Surround yourself with positive people that support your goals. People contribute to the general vibe around you as well as affect your decisions. Keep people around that foster positivity and that understand as well as support your personal, academic, and professional goals.
- Foster a culture of respect and gratitude. Be courteous of others and step in when you see others disrespecting someone. This will only add to the positivity that surrounds you and, in turn, creates a better campus environment for everyone.
- Safety is also an important aspect of your environment.
- Wear a helmet when you bike or skateboard.
- Be sure your living space has an adequate number of smoke detectors and check detector batteries often. Checking smoke detector batteries on the first of the month is a great habit to get into.
- Sign up for campus emergency alerts.
- Safely label all household toxins and dispose of items properly. Items such as medications, paint, and other household items need to be disposed of in specific ways. Get more information from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Healthy You, Healthy Earth: November 14
For more than 10 years Health Promotion and Wellness has partnered with campus and local organizations to hold this event highlighting the importance of sustainability and wellness. Healthy You, Healthy Earth will take place on Friday, November 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Brown Ballroom of the Bone Student Center. Attend presentations, visit campus and local wellness organizations, register for prizes, and learn about wellness and sustainability resources. Bring any unwanted small electronics, batteries, ink cartridges, clothes, and shoes for recycling.
This event is free and open to faculty, staff, students, and friends of Illinois State University.
11 a.m. – Energy Savings in the Home by Ron Kelley, director of the Office of Energy Management
12:15 p.m. – Detoxing in a Toxic World: Exploring Environmental Triggers to Disease by Laurine Brown, Ph.D., MPH, RD
Additional environmental wellness resources
- Ecology Action Center
- Environmental Wellness board on Pinterest
- Green cleaning board on Pinterest
- Horticulture Center at Illinois State University
- Office of Sustainability at Illinois State University
- Recycling at Illinois State University
Challenge yourself to make YOU a priority! SEVEN is a free program from Health Promotion and Wellness for students, faculty, and staff that focuses on the importance of the seven dimensions of wellness: emotional, environment, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational. SEVEN runs from September to the end of April, and you can join at any time. Participants log wellness activities to earn points toward monthly prize drawings and compete towards end of the year overall point totals. Participants also receive the SEVEN e-newsletter and information on campus wellness events. For additional details and to sign up, visit Wellness.IllinoisState.edu/Seven.