top of page

Sustainable habits during busy times

I have mentioned in my last two newsletters that I am now working at Perth City Farm. I started as the Communications Coordinator, then I added the Education Lead role. This sees me working away from home four days a week – and that’s without my PEA teaching commitments. My friend Shani Graham from Ecoburbia sees full-time work as a disability and serious obstacle to living a sustainable and community-connected life. And she is completely right, of course. We can’t do it all. When I come home from work, I am often utterly exhausted, and the last thing I want to do is preserve home-grown food, or even cook a healthy dinner.

But I’m not willing to give up on all of my standards either. While I might be giving away more of the fruit I grow instead of preserving it, I still want to buy my produce from the Farmer’s Market, my dry goods from the bulk store, and eat healthy meals on a daily basis. This way I buy in minimal plastic waste, eat seasonally and support local farmers and small businesses over supermarkets.

What this means is that planning and preparing for the week on the weekend have become an absolute must. Instead of just buying what I like spontaneously at the markets and and getting creative making meals with what I have during the week, I sit down on a Sunday morning to plan out my weekly meals before I go to the markets. Then I meal-prep.

At least one big pot of curry, soup or dahl are cooked, but I’m aiming for two. I prepare a batch of fruit salad, chia pudding, bircher muesli, or similar for breakfasts. Alternated with quick morning smoothies, that means breakfasts are sorted. One big bowl of a lunchbox salad also needs to be ready at the start of my work week, because with three teenagers in the house, dinner leftovers are sometimes unreliable. Lunch salad mostly consist of a legume (chickpeas, edamame, lentils, peas), a grain (millet, brown rice or similar), and lots of fresh vegetables. Ingredients that lose their freshness quickly, like leafy greens or avocado, are added on the morning I am taking the salad. I don’t want to produce a lunch that looks like what my boss Kathleen describes as the ‘compost salad’ of her younger years. Snacks in between are always a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts, so I just need to make sure I bought enough stocks of both.

If there is more time, we might make a batch of yoghurt, bake bread or start a pickle or ferment, but those are not essential. Making a new batch of very dark chocolate when I run out definitely is though! The baking of cakes for teenager lunchboxes and a lot of the cleaning and washing clothes has been delegated to the teenagers, which helps a lot. They take turns with those jobs and have accepted that it takes a team to make it work.

I still need exercise, so yoga and dancing stay a priority. Being sustainable to me also includes healthy habits, because getting sick means that I can’t continue the work I am doing. Instead of trying to make time for an hour-long yoga class though, I schedule in 10-15min of yoga every morning and night, no matter what else I am doing, how late I come home or how early I have to get up. Dancing can be tricky, because so much of it happens late at night, which doesn’t always go well with normal working hours. But I have found a schedule of early practice sessions with the dance husband and ‘earlier’ dance socials that – for now – is enough to satisfy the itch.

The one area that gets neglected big time is the garden at the moment. But it is what it is and times will change again. If focus the little time I have on a few wicking barrels for picking greens and herbs, and otherwise let the fruit trees do their thing. I will need to schedule in a couple of days for pruning at some stage though.

Another is maintaining strong bonds with my local community. To anyone out there feeling isolated in their neighbourhood because you are working full-time… it’s not just you! It is hard to stay connected when you are away all day. Luckily the bonds in our street are quite strong from years of working at home, so while we see less of each other, I believe the support network is still there.

What are your sustainable habits that you will always fit in, no matter how time poor you are? And how do you achieve them?

21 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page