Have you experienced burn-out in some capacity? This is unfortunately a common result many of us experience when working in advocacy and operating out of a place of empathy when it comes to climate and social justice issues.
Kirby Matthews, Founder and CEO of KindNest, joins Katie Kurpanek, Eco-Living Coach and Podcast Host, to explore what it may look like to find balance between caring for the planet and caring for yourself. Funny enough, living sustainably for the earth can have major benefits on our state of mental health and well-being, too.
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You're listening to all things sustainable, where we unpack topics related to sustainable living, as well as how to apply specific actions to your own life. I'm your eco living coach and podcast host, Katie Kurpanek. Let's jump in. Welcome back to all things sustainable. I'm Katie, your eco living coach helping you to minimize your carbon footprint and maximize your positive impact on our planet. Today, our guest speaker is Kirby Matthews, founder and CEO of KindNest. KindNest offers a variety of resources to support you with your personal well being as well as your sustainability journey, including an ethical and eco friendly boutique, coaching services, events and other community building tools. Kirby with she her pronouns, has a background in international affairs, conflict resolution training, working with global process improvement, and she's driven by the need for worldwide conscious social change. For the past couple of years that I've known Kirby, I have been consistently inspired and motivated by her spirit, her drive and her key ability to bring people together from all sorts of backgrounds to ignite a sense of passion for our communities, and our collective well being. In this pilot series of all things sustainable, we've been exploring the well rounded benefits to living sustainably, not only how these lifestyle choices benefit the planet, but also how it can influence all aspects of our lives. We've discussed benefits to the planet, our finances, and later in the series, we'll dive into physical health and social justice. But in this episode, we're taking a deep dive into our sense of self, our well being our mental state, and so on. Because of this, it's a very personalized and self or individual centric episode. And it's one that I hope will motivate and inspire you to care for yourself as much as you care for others and our world. Speaking of caring for others, this show is brought to you by the wonderful care and support of our patrons through Patreon. We'll talk more about that later. But I want to send a huge thank you right up front to this community of listener supporters. Without you all this podcast would not be possible. So without further ado, let's get into today's episode. Kirby Welcome to this show. I'm so excited to have you here and to talk with you about the connection between mental health and wellness in living sustainably. I feel like we're gonna have a really, really great time.Kirby Matthews:
Thank you. So happy to be here. And of course topics all near and dear to both of our hearts. So not something we're passionate about at all right?Katie Kurpanek:
No, not at all. Well, filling our listeners in on a little bit of background, Kirby and I actually started a challenge over social media almost two years ago when COVID first came about. And yeah, we called it the COVID Conscious Change challenge. And it was really fun. It ran for a couple of months, I think and helps people to sort of connect with each other virtually, but also balance a little bit of like self care, amongst a really tricky time, but it was connected to living sustainably. So we've got a bit of a background there. And I am really excited to just dive into some questions for you today. I filled in my listeners with a brief bio earlier in the introduction. But I would love if you could just tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into this line of work. And what are your passions? And what do you like?Kirby Matthews:
Yeah, absolutely. So my name is Kirby Matthews. And I started KindNest, really during COVID, May of last year, or 2020 years. So it's been a short journey as far as what I've done within the KindNest umbrella. However, I've been doing advocacy work and whatnot for years, I and I also have just always been really happy and involved with the environment. And I grew up gardening with my mom and just eating fresh vegetables and growing and basically just living off of what you can and all these little things that you you don't realize you're doing to be sustainable. But that perpetuated by passion around studying international relations and conflict resolution and kind of how that impacts the environment. And just all the intersectionality of those things. After college work took me a different direction. And I was having this conversation with a friend, where I was I'm so passionate about this stuff. I really want to get involved with it. But you know, I'm not ready to leave my day job. And she was like, Well, why can't you do it? You know, just do little things on the side, do what works for you. And it was the exact thing I was trying to promote and to advocate for. And so taking my own advice, I dived into KindNest and it's been a really wild ride. I've been really fortunate to collaborate with amazing people like yourself, and others like Glow and Gather with Sarita and with the women in sustainability groups and just just really really partnering with people in the community to help raise each other up and to make sure that our impact goes further, which is what's been really special.Katie Kurpanek:
That's fantastic. I think that's been a common theme with the few episodes that we've had in this pilot series so far, is the community piece because as soon as you plug yourself into this world of sustainable living, all of a sudden you realize how small the world really is. And everybody seems to know somebody, or is connected within the same Facebook groups and women in sustainability, particularly has helped the both of us I think, a lot in the past couple of years. And I had the privilege of interviewing Becky, for this podcast as well. So I'm so excited that we're being able to connect with each other and grow this community of changemakers. I love it.Kirby Matthews:
Yeah, just exactly. And that's the whole premise of KindNest and just working with people to really act as that facilitator of change and help people to do it in a digestible way. And, you know, it adds to the, the initiatives that people have going on, I think I've said this statistic to you before, and it's just one of my favorites, where it's 70% of people want to live more sustainably, but haven't taken action like that that statistic is the people that you know, so it's how do you encourage those people to bet from being the waters to the doers? And it's, you don't need to be doing it perfectly. And you don't need to target the the people that are doing zero waste and you know, perfectly it's how do you incorporate this in a conscious way into your everyday life, and how it impacts as we talked about, you know, your advocacy for your community, the intersectionality, of how that ties into your environmental impact, and ultimately, how it affects the bottom line of your self care of how we treat ourselves what we digest. You know, it all it all has that circular impact. And so it's it's a, it's a good one to advocate for.Katie Kurpanek:
Right, exactly. Can you tell me more about KindNest and what you do for people as far as you're coaching and empowering others and growing as a person? Could you just speak a little bit to what KindNest does?Kirby Matthews:
Absolutely. Yeah. So KindNest, again, is that facilitator for the global changemakers. And we start with really doing that self assessment of things you're already doing today and things you want to do, and creating that actionable plan to allow you to, to have that growth trajectory, but in a digestible way. I think so often, we think about wanting to create social change, or create an impact. And we get overwhelmed with trying to do everything at once, or it feels like, Oh, someone's already doing that. I think when we when I first got into this, especially I had that ego a little bit where it was like, well, someone's already doing it, so you know, why should I do it. And it's like, that's the whole point. Doing it together allows us to connect in that way, where we all have those interests. And it's something maybe that we haven't fostered within ourselves, because we have a million other things going on. And so it's giving yourself that self compassion, and your that space, to really look from that bird's eye view into your lifestyle habits. And look at where you can make that conscious change in a way that's authentic to you. And so KindNest has tools and coaching and development paths that enable that for people depending on where they're at in that journey. And so by advocating for your own self care, your own self compassion, and just being conscious of what your drivers are, you're able to play that add on game where you know, maybe you look into your sustainability, or maybe you're looking into your self care and your wellness. And you know, and you just start with one of those aspects of your life. But they all tie into each other. And so it's when you start doing one of those things, you really feel how easy it is to assimilate some of those other aspects in your life. Maybe it's just even talking to your friends about something that you've changed in your life. And that's that ripple effect where you're able to connect with your community, somebody else starts doing it, because they're inspired by you. And then you get that that reciprocated validation from from the effort that you've been taken. And so again, it's that game add on, I think it's a really special thing that KindNest has, which is just those action plans that that allow you to dive in with where you're at, you know, it's okay, maybe you haven't been doing zero waste, but you want to start, you know, eating more plant based or you want to be more conscious of your impact on the environment. And it's just those little little movements that you take within your own lifestyle and being conscious around those choices that allow you to have those ripple effects on the advocacy for your community and the intersectionality of your environmental impact.Katie Kurpanek:
That is so cool. I'm really excited that you've started something like this and that that's out there the world for people to turn to when they're looking for resources that can help with their self growth and community Building. That's pretty amazing.Kirby Matthews:
Thank you know, it's been so fun. And I think the biggest thing is just having that grace for yourself to make mistakes, and to not be perfect, and to be vulnerable and honest with yourself around areas you do want to grow into. Because I think that's the other aspect is we treat so many others with that compassion and that leniency of, you know, oh, we're growing, we're human, we're going through COVID. I know, you and I have talked about that. And there's all these underlying stressors and factors in our lives that we don't necessarily give heed to. And so it's just giving yourself that self compassion and that space to even ask yourself those questions, which I think is that that first step?Katie Kurpanek:
Absolutely. I think that's a really great segue into the first official question that I have for you. So thinking about how often we hear on the news about climate change, and the general state of our world, that can be very overwhelming and anxiety inducing for many of us, myself included, and oftentimes, it can even paralyze our sense of ability to take action. So I wonder how do you coach and guide others in processing all of this with what's going on in the world, and then also balancing taking care of ourselves and the planet?Kirby Matthews:
Absolutely. So I think the biggest thing is we don't there's, you know, there's things we do and don't have control over. And while it's you know, you don't want to go bury your head in the sand and just not focus on those things, it's important to realize that all of those, you know, all of those intricacies aren't necessarily things that we need to address all at once. You know, it's it's kind of like we talked about when you're trying to establish that that growth mentality or that conscious change in your life, you break it down into bite sized pieces, I heard a great piece of advice the other day, and it's something I've incorporated into my coaching, which is when you feel overwhelmed when you're at that stage, where you're like, oh, my gosh, I'm so overburdened with info, you know, info paralysis, analysis, paralysis, or even just, you know, where do I start, it's write down everything you're worried about on a piece of paper, and then circle the things that you actually have control over and start with those, it doesn't mean that those other things go away. And now you have an organized list a task list of what you start with, first, you start with that low hanging fruit, you get some of those quick successes of things that you could do. And maybe that's going for a walk, maybe that's I'm stressed, I can't focus, I need to step away from my desk. Or maybe that's, I'm, you know, I'm stressed about cooking all the time, I don't have enough time, I'm you know, whatever that is, it can be something trivial, or, or not, because that's, you know, trivial is, is it's relevant, right? It's, it's, it's in the eye of the beholder. So, by writing down what all those things are, and and organizing yourself in that way, it gives you a starting point, and also allows you to quantify the things that you're stressing about that you don't actually have that, that capacity for.Katie Kurpanek:
I love a good journaling prompt, and that, that's so inspiring to me already, I want to like do that tonight. And I think that it can be so helpful to put our thoughts onto a piece of paper, it's, it's like you're actually getting them out of your head. And once you can look at them in front of you, you can either feel just a sense of relief, or you feel like you can spot a pattern or make a plan that gives you actionable steps to take. And then I think it's just very helpful to have a sense of I can do this, I can make the changes that I want to make or I can take a break. And I don't have to do all the things. Because maybe, yeah, maybe it's not actually as overwhelming as it felt when it was just bouncing around in your head.Kirby Matthews:
When you made that big nest. Yeah, you don't you don't know which one to start with you. You're keeping tallies of all of it in your head. It's like, Oh, what am I forgetting? I don't know what I don't know. And so truly, yeah, that that action of writing it down just helps so much.Katie Kurpanek:
Exactly. And then going back to something you said earlier, too, about, we need everybody doing the best that they can as far as living sustainably, and that is imperfect. We're not looking for anybody to be doing this perfectly. And if that were the case, then we would really be in you know, deep trouble worse than we are now currently within our state of our world.Kirby Matthews:
Yeah. And people have different incentivization right, where it's like you care about things more than I do and vice versa. And so it doesn't mean that I'm living sustainably worse than you are. It's that we have different, you know, different advantages and that balances each other out as a societal average, right? When you look at everybody that's doing something as a collectiveKatie Kurpanek:
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Yeah, I mean, it's incredibly important. And I think there's, there's, you know, definitive proof around the, the benefits on one on the other. And so, kind of like you are what you eat type of concept. And it's the same thing with like, how we treat the earth, how we treat ourselves, it's all these little knock on effects. And I think that when you look at the interconnectedness of that, and understand just by looking and focusing on yourself and not others, like truly, it's like, you know, look at, look at your own self. And if you're focusing on being your best self, and everybody else also is, it's that knock on effect, but it's almost like that exponential growth of of that conscious change. So by pulling yourself out of, you know, your, your situation or your emotion and you're taking that observing approach of why do I want to live this way, or what is my motivation, maybe you want to lessen your environmental impact by eating less meat, or maybe on the other, you know, the inverse of that, you want to use less plastic, but you're not willing to give up your your eating habits or you're not able to give up your eating habits, you know, you you start to introduce that stuff into your life and you appreciate or you start to notice the positive effects on your body, maybe you have an elevated mood, you get less anxiety, you're sleeping better, your mood improves, you know, then you have more capacity to give from your cup to others. So that's where you start to see that knock on effect, where by focusing on yourself, you're able to advocate for your friends, your family, your community, because you've got more of that cup to give when you aren't doing that for yourself. Um, you know, if you're not eating well or you know, you're you're lethargic, your blood pressure's up you're you don't have the energy to go work out or to go visit and be social with friends or you're you're not sleeping as well. Maybe that's affecting your breathing that's affecting your immunity, your you know, stress affects your your health and your physical health. And so it's it's, you know, scientifically proven that by focusing on the positive aspects of that as well as the negative, you'll see those knock on effects. And so again, focusing on your own backyard has those those benefits on the environment and on your community. So not only are you maybe helping to release less methane into the air with the the cow production by eating less Meet, or you're limiting your plastic intake and you're using more sustainable products. And that's helping you to, to eliminate the waste that we see in the in the world. Or on the inverse of that maybe you don't have time to be more sustainable, but you are trying to focus on your self care and you want to be more active or do more physical exercise, or you want to go to therapy, that still has environmental impacts and benefits. Because, again, you're, you're maybe spending less time watching TV, maybe you're you know, that's using less electricity, you're getting outside, or you're picking up trash while you're walking. So you've got all these little knock on effects that you start to notice, and others are doing it imperfectly next to you. So you've got that camaraderie. And that sense of community, that sense of ownership, that sense of belonging, that I think we as humans need, that's that's the other thing I think we've noticed with COVID is just that innate, you know, that inertia of wanting to belong and needing to belong as a society and, and classify where we fit. And so again, this gives us that that landscape or that plane to to connect with people that are doing it differently all across the world.Katie Kurpanek:
Yeah, there's so many touch points in how all of this is interconnected. And I love that living sustainably, for the betterment of the Earth is also going to improve your life in some way, there's just no doubt about it. Thank you so much for sharing all of those ideas. So I'll share a personal example of how a bunch of this is interconnected. In my own choice of diet, I started to incorporate plant based eating into my life about four years ago at the time of this recording. And I did that for health reasons to begin with. But it was so interesting for me to watch how that unfolded in the rest of the areas of my life, I started to feel better physically, and started to notice all these changes within my own body after I had stopped taking in animal products, you know, like less bloating, less inflammation, feeling more energetic, just all of these things started to happen for me, and thenKirby Matthews:
it's normalized also, by the way, I mean, truly, it's like when after you overeat, you're like, Oh, I'm so bloated, I feel so full. That's, that's not normal. That's not an okay, you know, that's a sign that something is wrong.Katie Kurpanek:
Yeah. And I had no idea before making that big change, that that was even how I felt, it's like I wasn't fully aware of how bloated I felt all the time, until after about two weeks of cutting all these products out of my life. I didn't feel that way anymore. And then I noticed the shift and how much better I felt. And then because of that it totally connects with what you shared earlier were my mental capacity to be present within conversation, or to just be with the people around my life and to give more of myself to them. Because my cup was feeling more full. That was a really interesting connection that I didn't necessarily expect. And then on top of that, the more that I learned about plant based eating just for my own health and benefits, the more I learned about the kinds of environments that these animals were raised in, and that led to a passion for animals that I had never really thought about before and considered and then that bled into, well, what is this, you know, doing to the environment, these types of animal factories and that entire global impact that agriculture can have. So everything ended up just connecting with each other, and all these dominoes were falling over. And so now I have a very, I feel like a very well rounded approach to plant based living, I feel more informed in my choices. But that's just one example of a choice that I made that was to benefit my health. And then I realized how it could also be benefiting the planet. And then the people around me, again, all of this is interconnected. And I want to dive into a couple of these examples with more depth if you're willing to go there like yeah, I'm thinking about, well, diet and nutrition is definitely one whole topic that could just be an entire podcast in itself. And I'm planning a whole series around that. But there's also you know, the thoughts about like caring for the earth will often grow your sense of compassion and empathy and what that does to you biologically. Is any of that resonating with you that you feel like you could go more in depth withKirby Matthews:
Yeah, absolutely. And maybe not with like concrete statistics, right. But I think when you do look at some of those things, when you were just describing your experience with kind of how you how you kind of wove into that that journey, it made me think of why were my passion kind of right donated from and I think back to when I was learning about different communities and you know, you look at international affairs and there's all these ICOs and NGOs and everybody's trying to raise money and throw money at things. And it's like, without the right infrastructure in place, there's not necessarily going to be that that change. So it's, you know, people are well intentioned. But I realized that by focusing on that other side of the world, that impact maybe wasn't resonating as much. And so it's interesting because I had this, you know, we're such a globalized economy, we're a globalized world. And I had this notion that in order to do good, I needed to address and help and look across the world at where I could add value and where I could, and maybe that's a bit of that savior complex, which is a whole other conversation. But it also brought it home where it was, like I those are things I don't have control over, those are those those are those big world concepts where your heart hurts, and aches, and it's like those, gosh, I want to be involved with something that helps do good around some of that. But then, okay, if I don't, if I don't have that capacity, or I don't know how to get involved, what are areas that I can do to contribute to that. And so again, it's like by bringing it home by bringing it localized. So it's that whole adage of Think global, act local, you're able to enact more change and more good by focusing on yourself. And again, it goes back to that cup adage, where it's like, maybe it's using less resources, so that the rest of the world has those resources available. Or maybe it's living by example, and helping to enact policy within our own state, local government. And that will be that knock on effect. And by showing others how you can live differently, you inspire other countries to start to encourage change, and this or that, and so, you know, it's you look at like the globalization or the commercialization of America, and that American dream and how that's transposed in other countries. And I think we can also be that that perpetuator for for transformation of Conscious Change, and for living more sustainably. You know, I was reading a book and someone in the book was prompting, why do you always volunteer to the to the protagonist in the book, and she's like, I get validation out of it, I get joy out of giving back. And that's something that cost that person, nothing. That give that creates that tangible change. And that ripple effect, it's, it's that community, it's giving someone else that compassion to know that they are, are worthy of that love, and that attention and, and it is reciprocated. Because it's like if I can give that love, I can receive that love.Katie Kurpanek:
I read somewhere recently that we're biologically wired to get like a hit of dopamine, when we help others. And so you end up living out of a place of compassion a lot more often, because of the biological positive feeling that you're getting. I think of that classic episode from friends, where Joey is, no, Phoebe's trying to do something selfless and prove to Joey that it's possible. And he's like going on and on about how that will never happen, because she'll always feel good about what she's doing. But anyway,Kirby Matthews:
do you agree with that? Do you think that?Katie Kurpanek:
No. So that's, that's what I think I've had a change of perspective now. And everything that you were sharing really resonated with that. Because growing up, I think there was this big stigma against doing anything that would be perceived as selfish, and self care totally falls into that bucket. But then now I feel like I don't know if it's just a shift within myself, or if it's a shift within the data that we have available to us now. And the studies that have been done on it, and there's just less cognitive dissonance there. But when you are doing something that resonates with you and fulfills you, and it does make you feel good, maybe it gives you that hit of dopamine, then you're more likely to do it again and again, and then you're more likely to help others and make a more positive impact. Taking a quick break to talk to you all about shopping with KindNest. KindNest is an eco and social conscious company that facilitates changemakers globally through various initiatives that promote sustainable living products, community outreach, advocacy and mental health. KindNest works to inspire positive change by supporting people in their efforts of choosing kindness, educating each other reinvesting in our communities advocating for sustainable swaps and eco alternatives, and leveraging best practices and knowledge transfer in the areas of self development, wellness, activism, and professional mentorship. They offer all this on their website, which includes an eco friendly and ethical online boutique, coaching services, workshops, events and other community building and self growth tools. If you'd like to join their mission as a positive change maker, visit their website KindNest.org today. If you'd like to shop with them, use the affiliate link in this episode description, and then use the code thatminimallife all one word to receive 15% off your purchase this affiliate link will also give me a small kickback with no extra cost to you. So check out this episode description for all those details and dive into a world of conscious social change with KindNest. Alright, back to our show.Kirby Matthews:
Change is hard. So that's the other thing. I guess it's you know, we're talking about all the positives, but maybe it's good to mention the cautionary stuff too, which is sometimes forwards looks backwards, right? Sometimes that means taking a break. During COVID I got really into yoga and my mental health and just really focusing on on that, but I also was still doing everything else. So you know, it was like I was trying to fill my own cup, but with a 10th of the time that I should have been allocating to it. And you know, it's like, you're just there's only so many hours in a day. And so knowing when to step back or take a step back is also really important where it's like, okay, maybe you're you have all these great grand ideas and you want to change and you want to do it all at once. And it's like you're gonna burn out, or it's not going to be sustainable. Or, you know, you're you're going to do a complete 180. And you're not going to feel like yourself, you're going to be like what's, what's my identity here within within all these changes. And so I think that's it, it's like it knowing that progress sometimes means slowing down or taking a step backwards, or, you know, we have our lives go like this, right? We're not, we're not always going to be feeling good. And we don't want to be because if we always were flatlined, then those highs and lows wouldn't feel good, we would just be flatlined. It's like you have to experience those lows, to know when you appreciate the highs when you can be present with what's good and bad. And within your own journey.Katie Kurpanek:
Yeah, and what feels good to you and what's manageable for you is likely going to be different than somebody else. And so if you can count yourself as winning one week, when you did a bunch of yoga for self care, you took a daily walk at your lunch break, and you picked up trash along the way, like you were talking about earlier. And then, you know, maybe you cut out meat for like one day a week, one whole day of meals. But then at some point in that week, you could be feeling burnt out from work. And so you need to get takeout on the way home just to save your sanity. Yeah, and you want to treat yourself. And rather than feeling so guilty about that, you know that one choice or two or however, you know, if you had a lot of takeout that week, I've totally had those weeks, and I can end up beating myself up over it because I'm like, Oh, look at all this plastic packaging that was associated with these meals, I should have just cooked at home. But then you're not looking at the rest of your week. And all of the other things that you were doing mindfully to make a positive impact within your own life. And often for the earth, I think we get stuck in that comparison game a lot of times, and that is just never healthy. But especially when you're trying to compare yourself to someone else that you feel like is you know, living zero waste perfectly, or whatever it is. And there's really just nothing productive in that.Kirby Matthews:
Well, and you look at social media, right? I mean, everybody puts their best foot forward, you're seeing this perception of how people want to be received by others. And that's an amazing thing that we have control over that in some degree. And that's great, but it's not reality. And so it's like you, you start to believe that about yourself, and you set yourself up for failure in that regard, because nobody's perfect. And if you have this unrealistic expectation of yourself, then that inner critic starts to motivate you in an unhealthy way. Maybe it's, you know, it's it's that comparison is the thief of joy, right? Where it's, you're comparing your lives to others, or you're constantly trying to do more and more and more, and nothing's ever going to be good enough. And so you've got to watch that rat race of what's the difference between a growth mindset and being task oriented and wanting to build on top of your already amazing growth that you've gotten to, and taking it too far, where you're, you're not being present, where you're using it as an excuse to have kind of that escapism, or you know, it's like you're, you're not being nice to yourself in that regard, where it's like, if you're constantly focusing on the future and how you can do more, you're probably judging yourself on what you're doing, which is probably an incredible amount already.Katie Kurpanek:
Oh, yeah. That string of self talk that just never ends and it can be so hard to tune into that and to really pay attention into how you're speaking to yourself. And I loved what you said earlier about comparison being the thief of joy. I wrote that down, I feel like that that sticks with you that kind of visual term. I've done a lot of work around emotional intelligence over the past couple of years. And I love that that's also something that's becoming more mainstream. Now, I think that there's a lot of resources available and more accessible nowadays. And I have like a small group that I'm a part of that weekly, we check in with each other on an emotionally based level. And we practice giving each other the language that we need to identify what we're feeling and why. And not just relying on the same basic terms, either, like, I'm good, how are you today, I'm fine. It's like really taking time to think about yourself, where are you checking in today, and why? And then we talk about that with each other at like a heart level, it just that alone, kind of like talk therapy, it can be so relieving, and helps you to not feel alone, either, we end up diving into some really deep conversations around it too. And it's just super helpful. I don't even remember how we got into this tangent, but I think it's totally associated with living sustainably as well.Kirby Matthews:
No, I love that I really think it is I mean, it's, I always use the phrase conscious social change. But I think that is it's having that emotional intelligence, it's that it's the way that we look at our own behavior, our own emotional drivers, and, and coming from a place of curiosity, rather than judgment or control, coming from a place of vulnerability, where it's like, oh, I'm going to let myself dive into this and see how that feels. And let myself be curious and explore those parts of myself and see where I want to go with it. Because I think it's also giving ourselves permission to play. You know, as adults, we lose sight of that, where it's like, we feel like we're on a trajectory, or we have to do things a certain way. Or we've been doing something so long our whole lives, or we've grown up a certain way with certain traditions or just habits. And when you get outside of your bubble, and you realize people live differently, or you go to a big city like New York, and you see everybody living a million different ways, all in the same place. I feel like it's so inspiring to look at those types of concepts. And you it really does help to conceptualize like, there's no right way, everybody is doing things differently. And it doesn't make it right or wrong. It's really cool. Everybody I like you know, growing into my 30s You see all of our friends coming into their paths of development, maybe it's with work or relationships with developing families. And you know, that might not be someone's cup of tea or the direction that they wanted to go. But it's it's really cool to see everybody celebrating everyone's successes. And it's, it's Oh, that's what I wanted to say earlier with you like that you don't want to diminish someone else's success over your own, or vice versa, like someone else being successful doesn't diminish your own light or your own capacity to shine through. Whether that's with your business and your competition of people doing something similar to you collaborate with them, you know, raise each other up, help to share each other's audiences help, you know, when we look at this industry specific. It's like, we want more people to be doing it imperfectly. So by working together, and, and helping to kind of advocate for your community of doing it imperfectly. We all get stuff out of it. We all get intrinsic value out of it. And I think one of the things that we were talking about earlier, going back to that around whether that's inherently selfish or selfless, I think there are times where like you do stuff because you realize someone needs it. But maybe it's because you hope someone does that for yourself for you. Maybe there is always that, like, treat others as you want to be treated. I don't know. That's a really interesting concept to go back to whether that makes you selfless, selfish, etc, or not when even doing something to benefit someone else, is perpetuated by you being empathetic to their situation by putting yourself in their shoes. I think you and I have talked about this too, as well, the difference between sympathy and empathy.Katie Kurpanek:
Yeah, I think I think I did have this conversation with you at some point because it's totally ringing a bell. And I remember reading that when you are living from a place of sympathy you can often remove yourself from that perspective easier. And in some situations like when it comes to climate change and the state of our world that can be a helpful coping mechanism because then you don't get as weighed down when you can be sympathetic but you're not feeling the weight right but then if especially if you're a naturally empathetic person, and I definitely find myself operating out of a place of empathy a lot of times, then it can be harder to separate yourself from somebody else's perspective and what they're experiencing or the world's affairs, and then you end up taking on a lot of the burden. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. But the key is, you have to choose what you're going to do with that burden. Like, if I am just finding myself super weighed down by it, and I don't know how to change anything in the world, then I can find myself really depressed and really anxious. However, if I decide that, I'm going to operate out of this place of empathy, and compassion, and I'm going to do this one thing about it, this is the one thing I feel like I can control I can donate to this organization that is helping in that other country, with such and such situation. Or I can help this person in my community right now, because I know I have the resources that they are in need of whatever it is, whether it's related to social justice or climate justice, a lot of times they go hand in hand, then it's helping you to live out of a place of compassion, but not be weighed down at the same time. So I have a routine final question that I ask anybody that I interview, no matter what the topic is, and I would love to hear from you on this, what you feel are the top, like 1-3 actionable steps that our listeners could take today even that could help them to live sustainably, both in the environmental sense, and the positive mental health and wellness sense of that phrase.Kirby Matthews:
Definitely. I think the first thing like we talked about is getting it out of your head and onto paper. Even if that means just like a grocery list of jotting things down. It doesn't mean you have to journal all the time, although I think journaling can be an immensely wonderful tool to use. But I think the biggest thing is just write it down. Maybe it's starting with what you're already doing today. Maybe you turn off the faucet while you're brushing your teeth. Maybe you make sure that you go get up a little early to make sure that you can read before you start your day. Maybe it's that you pick up trash when you see it on the ground when you're on a walk at a park, or you have an animal and you make sure that you take them out. So again, starting with writing down that list of things that you're doing today, that may not even you might not even realize that it's something that you're doing sustainably. Maybe you're using bar soap instead of body wash. Maybe it's that you go and try out your first refill station and look at how you can use your resources or you using what's in your home first before you transition right it's what are things that we we do as a family? Do you wash out and reuse your Tupperware? Do you break down and reuse your cardboard? Do you know all those little things. So write down what you're already doing well, and then the other thing is for your mental state. So looking at how you want to live more sustainably, looking at how what you're ingesting mentally. So what are those things that are stressing you out that are worrying you and write that down. And then again, circle what you have control over start with those things. It gives you that flight pattern, maybe look at what are the what's the low hanging fruit of one thing that I want to start on, don't try to do all at once, start with one thing, and then start doing that well, and then that becomes habit. And then maybe you add on and you have a little bit more capacity and room in your cup to add on something else. Maybe that's eating less meat. And once that becomes a habit, maybe you move to full plant based, it doesn't matter what direction you go with it right? That's the fun part. You just get to start and see what path that takes you down. And then I think the other thing is on physical activity. So it's like, kind of look at those different quadrants of your life. What do I what do I what am I stressing about and then what are things that make me happy? What are those things that you're doing in life that you get enjoyment out of, maybe that's meeting up with friends, maybe that's going on walks, maybe that's being alone, connecting with your family, prioritize that stuff, that stuff's important. By focusing on yourself and filling that part of your cup, you will have more energy you will have more dopamine you will be happier, you will have more resources to be able to help others if that's what is being asked of you. Or maybe it's just that you find yourself eating better and then you look healthier, you feel healthier, you are impacting the environment, less all those little add on things, but it's like you said none of it can be bad. It's like doing anything is going to help even if it feels like that slow journey. The last thing I would say is just patience with yourself, patience with yourself and others. We're all human and we're all going through stuff, nobody has any clue what people have behind those closed doors behind those curtains. We've all experienced adversity and trauma in our lives, whether that's with a little or big T. And I think it's important that we acknowledge that, and not let that define us, right not be a victim of our own circumstances and our past drivers, but to acknowledge them and understand how that they can motivate us, and how they can enable us to grow and live into that conscious living in that that best version of yourself for whatever definition that looks like for you.Katie Kurpanek:
Hmm, those are beautiful suggestions. And I love that each of them is so simple. And yet, I think because they're so simple, they're often easily forgotten, or easily pushed to the backburner in our lives. And we need that reminder to be gracious to ourselves and to others, and to just do the best that we can. I love your creative idea of just writing these things down, getting it out of your head, whether it's a grocery list or a full journaling prompt, I think that every one of your suggestions is so useful and so doable, no matter where you are in your life. So thank you so much for sharing those. If people want to connect with you, Kirby or with KindNest, and check out what you have to offer on that site. I know you've got a whole like boutique, you've got coaching sessions that you offer, you've got a whole bunch of stuff there. I'll link the contact information that I have for you in the episode description. But where would you suggest is like a good starting point for our listeners?Kirby Matthews:
Yeah, Instagram is what I use the most as far as communicating and in promoting and sharing what we've got going on. I also have a website, as you said, so we'll definitely make sure to share the details, but KindNest.org. And then Instagram is kind nest company. And that's also the Facebook as well. We've got a few things going on, we're doing quarterly or seasonal clothing swaps with the community in Colorado, we're also hoping to encourage others to do it within their cities. So if if listeners are from other areas, we'd love to work with you to organize the day that we all do that together and have that greater impact. We've got a bunch of community events coming up, we're doing a cross cultural dinner series, working seasonally through how we can connect and learn about others and utilize our empathetic listening to understand and break down our own stereotypes and how we can connect and advocate for our community by learning our own differences. So I'm really, really excited about that one. And then as you mentioned, we've got a bunch of online content, a bunch of available resources and workshops that you can do in person or on demand. So that it's, you know, wherever it fits into your lifestyle, which allows you to do purpose mapping, self awareness exercises, we've got that COVID Conscious Change challenge. And then like you said, we've got a sustainable shop on there. So if you're interested in taking a look at some of those lifestyle, eco plastic change swaps that you'd like to incorporate into your world, please take a look there. But we'd love to be a resource for individuals and businesses to start and help to facilitate that change wherever that starts for you.Katie Kurpanek:
Wonderful, thank you so much for creating such an awesome bank of resources and for taking time out of your day to be with us and on this call. I really appreciate that. Thank you so much for your time today.Kirby Matthews:
Thank you. And I just want to say I am so pleased to see how much you've been doing as well to advocate in this community in the space and what you've done to lift others up around you it's it's really inspiring and it's definitely been something that's helped me in my world in my capacity to to look at areas I want to grow into and you've inspired that change in a lot of others too now so I really appreciate you.Katie Kurpanek:
Thanks, Kirby that means so much I hope you enjoyed today's episode. If so, please consider sharing it with a friend and subscribing to the podcast and so you never miss a new episode. Check out the description for important links. And if you'd like to benefit from the perks of becoming a patron to the show, check out patreon.com/all Things sustainable. Until next time, do the best you can with what you have and remember that you can make a positive impact on this world one day at a time.