Record-breaking heatwaves. Deadly floods causing destruction in multiple countries. Earthquakes bringing churches, schools, and homes to rubble.
Thousands of lives have tragically been taken through these natural disasters just this year alone, and the Earth as we know it seems to be changing rapidly.
The words “climate change” are always tossed around. Usually, as a reason to recycle or invest in an electric car. But ever since the IPCC report stated the world is now on a “Code Red for Humanity”, it seems people are finally starting to take the climate crisis seriously.
“Eco-anxiety” is an ongoing worry about the Earth’s future and the chronic fear of environmental doom.
Although the impacts of climate change feel way out of our control sometimes, it’s important to recognise our own mental health and take proactive steps to improve the environment’s state.
The first step – working on a healthy mind to create a healthier world.
How eco-anxiety presents itself
Firstly, anxious feelings around climate change are common. With so many communities across the world facing extreme weather conditions, it’s normal to feel scared and worried about the changes.
Anyone with eco-anxiety may feel a sense of hopelessness. Anxiety in itself can be hugely problematic for an individual, especially in the workplace. Decisions may not be made with a clear head, emotions might be running high, or simply losing interest in work. Open communication is absolutely vital to ensure employees feel supported when experiencing anxiety.
Other symptoms of eco-anxiety include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Experiencing panic attacks
- Difficulty concentrating
- Insomnia or restlessness
- PTSD after experiencing first-hand effects of climate change
- Strains on social relationships
- Isolating from people
Ways to build a healthy mind and ease your worries
Address your lifestyle
Are you taking appropriate measures to help the environment? Try cutting down on plastic usage, reducing meat consumption, and if you can, consider going car-free as much as possible.
For families or busy people, it’s not as easy as making straight swaps, but there are various steps you can take every day to help tackle the climate crisis.
Communicate with friends, family, and colleagues
While talking to loved ones may be daunting, communication is an effective and positive coping mechanism.
Sometimes, you just need to talk it out. Open the channel of communication and you might find someone at work that feels the same.
Who knows, you might even start your own ‘Climate Change Community’ at work and raise awareness around the business.
Difficulty concentrating is one of the top symptoms of eco-anxiety. This, of course, is not helpful when you’re trying to do your day job.
Learning ways to remove chaotic brain noise, focus on the present, and stay positive are all must-have skills when combatting eco-anxiety.
Take a look at Mindfulness courses to help develop a healthy mind and keep climate change worries at a manageable level.
Better yet, introduce a whole suite of eLearning courses for the office to help raise awareness of climate change, promote positive mental health, and educate employees on how they can make improvements within their own lifestyles. Here are some of our favourites:
Connect with like-minded people
Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate, EarthJustice, and of course, David Attenborough are all fantastic environmental activists that share tips, stories, and everyday ways you, me, and the whole world can combat climate change.
Social media can be a great way to research and raise awareness about the climate crisis. However, social media can also be overwhelming when it comes to climate change. Remember, if you ever feel like social media is making your eco-anxiety worse, it’s okay to step away.
Here’s some good news…
Popular shows such as “Seaspiracy” and many David Attenborough classics like “Blue Planet II” have demonstrated the stark impacts climate change has on our planet.
Thankfully, series shining a light on the climate crisis makes a huge difference in public actions. A huge 88% of people who watched Blue Planet II have changed their behaviour towards plastic use.
Charities like WWF are paving the way to a greener, more renewable future by tackling issues head-on. WWF are continually advocating to drive changes in policies and legislations to reduce the UK carbon emissions. Protests and campaigns are ongoing to raise awareness and to help build a better future.
Eco-anxiety can be a really negative presence in our daily lives. Acknowledging how you feel, talking to someone, and finding helpful coping mechanisms are the best ways to ease your worries.
Try to look for good news stories. Research how you can tackle climate change (because we all can) and raise awareness of the climate crisis.
Many people feel the same, and when you’re feeling anxious, remember every single small change you make helps.