There is a force out there that can be more gripping than FOMO and it’s called FOND (Fear Of Not Doing) or FONDE (Fear Of Not Doing Enough). Triggered by some of the same situations that cause FOMO – comparing personal experiences/achievements to others’ and the ideals of perfectionism, FONDE can paradoxically create a panic and freeze reaction where we do nothing for fear of doing too little. While this can present itself in many areas of our lives, the most debilitating area for inactivity is in personal development and contributing to the greater good. So many things we know we should be doing to improve ourselves and our environment.
It’s not surprising that the overwhelm of possibilities and opinions on best practices can cause us to freeze in our tracks, shut down, and choose idleness instead. There is a constant stream of information out there. Sources we seek out for guidance, and ones we don’t (*ahem, Aunt Cathy) offer many directions to choose from at all times.
For those of us genuinely interested in being the best version of ourselves, choosing a first step in the right direction can feel insurmountable. Living a life where you incorporate all of your shoulds is a worthy goal, but sometimes taking a small step is important just to get past the largesse of an end goal. These small steps of action tend to naturally lead to bigger positive changes and decisions, without the overwhelm of implementing change all at once.
Here are some examples of small steps you can take:
1) Participate in Meat-Free Mondays
Not ready to commit to a fully Vegan lifestyle? Then start with one day a week. As you prepare recipes and source ingredients, you’ll start to see how easy it is to make great meals without animal products. Slowly, you may learn that you prefer how you feel after these meals and will opt for them on non-Mondays. There are lots of resources for vegan recipes, and Meat-Free Monday ones can be designed specifically for exploring vegan options. Also, a ton of restaurants now participate in this program, if you’re not into cooking for yourself. Each choice you make to lower animal consumption, and your dependence on the supporting industries is a step to a more vibrant you and a healthier eco-system!
2) Start replacing your single-use household items one at a time
It’s true that zero-waste is a great goal to reach, but can also involve an almost complete restructuring of how you shop and live. It affects how you shop for produce (avoiding anything that comes in plastic containers, bringing your own shopping bags, etc.), which household and beauty products you use, and how far away you source your things. Instead of becoming overwhelmed with how much waste we produce without thought, begin with the things you feel are the most wasteful. For me, it was straws and plastic food storage bags. Once re-usable alternatives for these things became a habit, it felt joyful instead of overwhelming to choose the next thing to replace. There are many companies out there whose mission is to eliminate unnecessary packaging and single-use containers. The hidden benefit to changing your focus here is you’ll start to lean towards more local producers and be more in touch with the food you eat and products you use!
3) Find ways to give small amounts of time to an organization that you care about
In the past, finding ways to volunteer would trigger my biggest shut-downs. While researching to find the cause most worthy of my time, it became obvious how many organizations and people endlessly need assistance and truly would benefit from a few hours of my time. It took me way too long to choose and then take the first steps towards giving back. I started with a few hours here and there and eventually learned enough to be an integral part of the outreach. To focus on the personal growth here feels counterintuitive, but having a connection to your cause will do so much more in the long run than volunteering for something that feels good, but doesn’t feel personal to you.
4) Make time for self-care
As my kung fu teacher, a Shaolin Master and Buddhist Monk always says, “Help yourself and you help the world.” Self-care can be really, really hard to devote time to but the logic of putting your oxygen mask on first checks out when it comes to having enough of yourself to improve the lives of others. Take more breaks, learn to say no when your boundaries are crossed, work on a physical practice that will keep you strong and active, eat better. Each of these small choices contributes to a stronger you and will ensure you have the reserves to impact others.
5) Support impactful businesses
If you can’t wrap your head around any of the above changes (I get it!), the next best thing you can do is support companies that are doing great things on your behalf.
Just as your votes help to support policies and leaders you believe in, using your dollars to support businesses that align with your ethics or who are able to do the work you don’t have time for has its own positive impact. Every dollar you spend towards a company with a mission gives them a better foothold for growth and further impact. Supporting companies that are doing the research for you (like ones that only carry re-usable, responsibly-sourced products, restaurants that participate in Meat-Free Mondays, and ones that give back in their own ways), is the same as taking these steps yourself.
At Vegan Wines, we are delighted to do the footwork for transparent and responsible winemaking/distribution. We like to think that we touch on each of these facets of intentional living just by doing our daily work. This includes a contribution to self-care with delicious and healthy wines!
Published by our In-House Sommelier Raven Adrian 15 years in NYC wine world/beverage management (retail, somm, and distribution) Advanced Certificate Level 3 (Advanced) Court of Master Sommeliers Certified Sommelier (Level 2)