By K W Warburton, The Reluctant Spoonie
Eco-anxiety is a specific type of anxiety that is linked to the environment and the threats of climate change. Climate change is becoming more and more visible every day. For instance, there are already climate refugees from parts of the world that have already been flooded due to sea level rises. We are already experiencing extreme weather events, food shortages, droughts and even epidemics will become more common as global temperatures rise.
What is eco-anxiety?
“Eco–anxiety refers to a fear of environmental damage or ecological disaster. This sense of anxiety is largely based on the current and predicted future state of the environment and human-induced climate change.”https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327354
Here are my 5 top tips to help ease your eco-anxiety. Please seek professional help from a doctor or therapist if you feel as if your anxiety is impacting your daily life.
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1. Spend time outdoors
If you’re interested in the environment and climate change, then chances are that you enjoy being outdoors. For instance, if you have a garden, try to set some time each week to tend to it. Planting seeds or weeding are great repetitive activities for easing your anxiety.
Read about my Animal Crossing mental health journey here
If you don’t have your own garden, there may be a local gardening club or conservation group that you can join. A quick Google search will show you what’s available in your area.
2. Switch off the news
If you find yourself becoming immersed or obsessing over climate-related headlines, then limit your news consumption to once per day or even week. You can do this by switching off news notifications on your phone and unfollowing news organisations on your social media.
3. Be mindful of the social content that you consume
Is your Insta feed full of zero waste/ vegan influencers? Do you watch a lot of zero waste vlogs?
Try muting these accounts for a week. This way, you’re not being bombarded with climate change content every time you switch on your phone. Afterwards, consider if you want to continue following them.
4. Be kind to yourself
We can’t all be like the zero-waste influencers.
For example, Not all of us have access to a whole foods store or can afford to shop exclusively at sustainable fashion brands. Try not to feel bad about shopping at a fast-fashion store or ordering take-out. Similarly, if we are constantly thinking about the trash that we produce in our daily life, is likely to fuel our anxiety further.
Be kind to yourself and commit to one manageable lifestyle change at a time.
5. Talk to others about how you’re feeling
Talking to others is a great way to ease eco-anxiety. If you find that conversations with friends or family often gravitate towards climate change, then suggest a change in topic. You may find that family and friends are also experiencing eco-anxiety.
Sharing your anxieties may help relieve your burden and theirs.
In conclusion, if you find that your eco-anxiety is affecting your daily life, then speak to a trained therapist or counsellor.