What happens when you’re so switched onto climate change that awareness turns to anxiousness, and suddenly you’re crushed by what you know rather than empowered by it?
You are not alone, and thankfully, you can ease eco anxiety by looking for the following signs and taking action when you see them:
There’s Nothing Left to Eat
You went vegan because of the impact of intensive agriculture on the planet, but what about avocados, almonds, and everything else that has an impact on the planet? Now, you’re just sitting with your non-toxic pans and eco-friendly cookware and nothing left to cook.
If this is you, stop, take a breath, and recognize that you can only do your best. Unless you live off-grid, it’s pretty much impossible to be eco-perfect these days, especially with the food you consume. Nourish yourself, and you’ll be a stronger warrior in the war against climate change.
You’re Angry Online
Some people feel so overwhelmed by the eco-emergency that they take it out on other people online. Online bullying and trolling are most prevalent on Instagram, but in reality, to the people who are on the receiving end of your rage, it doesn’t matter which platform you’re using. The fact is that you’re hurting others with your words, and you’re wasting your own time and emotions too. Instead, consider turning your rage into passion and joining local climate change groups that are taking legal action to create awareness around the issue.
You’re Noticing Bad Eco-Habits Everywhere
There is nothing like an eco-awakening to make you acutely aware of the bad habits everybody else still has. Dad just casually adding to the 55 billion tonnes of discarded global plastic waste with his disposable water bottles, your friend driving a gas guzzler, and don’t even get us started on Nana and her use of chemicals in the garden.
So many people have no idea why they need to change what they are doing. However, it’s important to remember that if they did understand the damage they were doing, most people would want to make a change. Find hope in their ignorance, and be kind when you inform them of the realities.
You Feel Hopeless and Worried
Eco anxiety can get so intense that it causes symptoms of depression or generalized anxiety. The best thing to do in this instance is to make your world smaller. Come off social media for a while, avoid the news, and take physical actions that allow you to make a real-time difference. From litter picking and planting wildflowers to volunteering with animals, there’s a lot you can do.
See each action you take as a positive step forward rather than a minuscule drop in the ocean. This is how you take the weight of the world off your shoulders and start to feel empowered again.
You’re Leaning on Bad Habits
If you’re becoming one of the 7% of Americans who have a drinking problem, or you’re leaning on other bad habits to cope with how you feel about the environment, it’s time to get help. Reach out to your doctor, a therapist, friends, and loved ones for support. You’ll quickly discover that you’re not alone in your eco anxiety.
Climate change is happening, but it does not mean you cannot have a meaningful life – you just need a little help regaining some control.
Eco anxiety is not a new problem, and it’s not going away. All you can do is your best, which starts with taking care of yourself first.
Photo: Yusron El Jihan / Unsplash
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