There are deadly toxins in your baby’s applesauce, your pet food is filled with fatty by-products and your soda pop is nothing less than a sugary grave. Poison gas is leaking from your furniture as you read this very article, and your vehicle’s emissions are choking trees with fumes RIGHT NOW. Your vegetables are covered in toxic substances, your fish is from the wrong ocean and even the air you breathe CAN KILL YOU! The organic food you buy might be mislabeled as containing farm-raised genetically modified high-fructose corn syrup and if you want the “natural” toothpaste – well, that will be $5 extra for the pretty green leaves on the box.
Do you have natural living fatigue? Do you yearn for a simpler time when vegetables were vegetables and furniture could only kill you if it fell on you? Is your head going to spin right off the top of your neck if you read one more nutritional label, one more article about “superfoods” or one more world news report about E. coli in your kitchen? Do the whispered conversations in your yoga class make you want to slap someone with a yoga mat, and do you find yourself dreaming about eating a big, fat juicy cheeseburger and a second helping of fries dipped in cheese sauce AND ranch dressing?
You could have natural living fatigue. Brought on by continuous clean living, increasing grocery bills, overwhelming choices and an onslaught of nutritional information, natural living fatigue is common in first-world countries where more serious worries like poverty or starvation have been relegated to the recesses of the mind. If you suspect that you are suffering from this dis-ease, put down your cranberry quinoa spinach wrap and use the following methods to remember why you choose to live a natural life.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others. You’ve proudly just switched to natural home cleaners when your neighbor tells you that she is now making all of her cleaning products from scratch out of refuse from the compost heap. You upgrade to organic bed sheets only to find out that your brother has outfitted his house with organic carpet made by hand by artisans from a family farm in Maine. Stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and instead make the choices that suit your family the best.
2. Travel outside of your culture – far outside. Go someplace where the standards of living are far below that which you are used to, and remind yourself that natural living is a choice that you are lucky to be able to make. Most people in the world do not have access to the choices that we agonize over: low-fat frozen ice cream or full-fat frozen yogurt? Fresh organic spinach or frozen? Your natural living fatigue is a first-world problem, and you are lucky that your issues are so light.
3. Go out and party. Reconnect with your 21-year-old self and gather up a few friends who know how to have fun. Now head out on the town and really tie one on – drink as many cocktails as you can muster, or just dance until the club closes and yell at the moon in the wee hours. Wake up in the morning and revel in the horrific sensations of wild living to remind yourself why you go to bed early, take care of yourself and floss just like the dentist says. It’s because you are an adult, you care about your future and you have a working brain. Congratulations.
4. Don’t be so extreme. If you refuse to eat anything but USDA-certified organic food and insist that your children do the same, everyone is going to miss out on some great social experiences that can be crucial some of life’s best warm and fuzzy feelings. While ballpark franks for lunch three times a week is a bad idea, indulging in a chili-covered wiener at a live baseball game with your family is an experience that goes beyond labels. You already know when to say when – now learn when it is best to give in. Enjoy the cotton candy at the carnival, the nachos at the street fiesta and the funnel cake at the amusement park. Your life and diet must have room for treats!
5. Unplug. If your natural living burnout takes the form of information overload and nutritional admonitions are swimming around your head like goldfish crackers, you may need to unplug completely. Turn off the computer, turn off the television, turn off anything that you can turn off and go do something that you used to do before you were so connected. Take the whole day off from media and experience your world completely in first person. Eat just what you feel like eating, and you may be surprised to find it’s a healthy, natural dish after all!