Holiday stress can exacerbate other stress, like eco-anxiety. But there are some helpful ways you can ease your eco-anxiety this festive season.
With so much news uncovering the severity of our ecological crisis, eco-anxiety, a psychological disorder involving ‘intense worry and a state of heightened anxiety about the environmental crisis’, is becoming more and more prevalent.
Today’s younger generations have grown up in the middle of mass biodiversity loss, record-breaking global warming, and never-ending pollution across our oceans, freshwater, soil, and air. With so much going on, many of us feel extremely stressed out, powerless, and depressed about the current state of the planet.
How to deal with eco-anxiety
Mental health issues should always be discussed with a health care provider first and foremost, but there are things you can do as well to support your stress levels about climate change. These tips may help.
1. Talk About It
Speak to your friends, trusted family members, or a professional about your worries. It’s completely okay to acknowledge your feelings and to communicate your emotions to those who are ready to listen. Voicing your concerns aloud is an effective way to relieve some of that heavy burden, frustration, and anxiety that you might be experiencing.
2. Reach Out To Like-Minded People
Remember that you are not alone! There are many others out there who feel the same way as you do, and being around a group of like-minded people can help you get through this tough time. Having a community is important, and you can find groups online, through a friend, or simply reach out and ask around if others are experiencing the same concerns.
3. Eat A Plant-Based Meal
One of the most powerful things you can do to reduce your carbon emissions and environmental impact is to ditch meat and dairy. Instead of opting for a meal that leaves a hefty footprint on our planet, which will likely fuel your eco-anxiety even more, try out all these plant-based Christmas recipes we have. The process of cooking up a vegan meal is bound to be a fun stress-relieving activity too. If you happen to be going on holiday, we have our vegan travel guides ready for you!
4. Cut Out Unnecessary Air Travel
With flygskam taking off this year, try to stick to alternative modes of transport instead of flying when you’re travelling. Trains are a great way to explore new destinations, as are other public modes of transport such as buses and trams. Try to walk a bit more too, or rent a bike! You’ll feel fitter and healthier, and that exercise will give you a good dose of those happiness-inducing endorphins!
5. Offset Your Footprint
We know that flying is sometimes unavoidable. But there are options out there for you to calculate the footprint of your flight, and act to offset it so you don’t have to become overwhelmed with worry about your impact. There are other ways to make sure you’re responsible while you travel too, from accommodation to tour choice, all outlined in our conscious travel guide.
6. Switch Off From The Web
Did you know that the web is also a source of carbon emissions because of the amount of energy it uses up? Switching off is at times a great idea, especially if you’re experiencing a bout of eco-anxiety. Use this time to nourish your health through offline activities such as a wellness retreat, fitness class, yoga workshop or a creative activity such as painting. Even sitting down with a book or listening to music could take your mind off the immediate headlines you scroll through on your phone on the daily.
7. If You Must, Use Ecosia & Other Digital Solutions
Again, we know that completely cutting off from the internet is almost impossible. You might need to search for an address or a quick fact up online. So if you must search the web, switch to Ecosia, a search engine that plants trees with every click! Also, download the web browser extension TreeClicks, handy for if you happen to need to do some online shopping and want to minimise the footprint of your purchase. These little acts of change might reduce some of the concerns you have about your environmental impact.
8. Green Your Home
Spend some time to greenify your home with some indoor plants. It won’t just brighten up your space, but it literally makes you healthier! Most notably, they help clean the air in your home, which will make you feel better for sure. We’ve got our own introduction on how to upgrade your home with plants. Alternatively, you can also decorate your home with some eco-friendly Christmas decorations! Many of them D-I-Y, which makes for a super festive activity to pick up over the holidays.
9. Turn Anxiety Into Action For Change
Instead of bathing in your eco-anxiety, turn this into a force for good! Positive action for climate change and other environmental issues is a great way to push for greater collaboration across all sectors to combat this global threat. Attend a climate strike, reach out to your local representative or district councillor, write to companies, volunteer with a local environmental charity! Every action, no matter how small it may seem, counts.
10. Read About Hope
Finally, get inspired. We all need stories of hope to keep us going, to motivate us that together, we can make change. No matter how dark it might seem right now, there are plenty of individuals, companies and groups that are dedicating huge amounts of time and effort to make the world a better place. We’ve interviewed some awesome people with incredible stories, people who are changing the world with their passion and innovation, read them for some serious hope.
Lead image courtesy of Canva Pexels.