Feeling gloomy when you think about the planet? Climate change anxiety stems from worries and anxiety about the increasing climate crisis. Global temperatures are getting more extreme, sea levels are rising, and carbon emissions are putting pressure on our atmosphere. We get it, it’s not a good vibe and there’s a lot to worry about!
Together we will untangle what eco-anxiety is and how we can take steps to manage this anxiety. From curating your news sources, to making small steps for the planet, to taking things into your own hands and making change. Feeling overwhelmed still? Don’t shy away from seeking professional help when you need it! Your GP is a great first step.
What is eco-anxiety?
Lots of young people are becoming increasingly anxious about climate change, global warming, and what their futures will look like as a result, and we totally get it! It’s called eco-anxiety, or climate change anxiety. It’s a sense of concern and panic about the state of the planet, and what the future might hold if climate change continues at the rate it’s happening. Eco anxiety is thought to affect around half of young people - it’s a major fear. And it’s easy to lose track of any positive changes being made around the world when the news moves so fast.
Don’t worry - you’re far from alone if you feel anxious about the future. That’s why we’ve curated some key pieces of advice to help you manage your anxiety about the future and some practical ways to reduce it.
Curate your news sources
It’s really easy to be scrolling through Facebook when BOOM - an article about the world ending pops up, and completely ruins your me-time. Sensationalism is a huge feature of modern media, and it generates lots of unnecessary anxiety for people. Luckily, there are ways to dodge this.
Limit the time you spend on social media and reading the news, unfollow accounts that are making you feel upset, and make sure you’re only getting your news from reputable sources.
Every month, we curate a list of our most positive eco-news stories, right here on the EcoVibe blog, so make sure you join our mailing list.
Step away from the screen
Getting caught up in what’s going on in the world can make us feel a sense of doom. The more information we consume, the more blogs we read, and the more comments sections we indulge in, it all adds up to us not feeling great.
Give yourself a break and step outside. Take yourself for a walk, a run, or just sit in nature with a good book. You’ll notice that the world isn’t falling apart and that the natural world is incredibly resilient.
Not only is this nature for anxiety in general, but it’s especially important when it comes to eco-anxiety!
Change up your lifestyle
Making small lifestyle changes is enough to make a huge difference to your carbon footprint. It can be hard to remember, but you do make a difference by yourself!
Control what you can control, and don’t put pressure on yourself to change other people. Even by making one product swap to an eco-friendly alternative, you’re potentially saving waste from a landfill, microplastics from the water supply, or harmful toxins from being around your home.
If you want an eco-friendly habit that will ease anxiety, why not start your own herb garden? Gardening can really help to ease stress and anxiety, connect us with nature, and can make you feel a little bit more in control when the climate crisis is weighing on your shoulders. Plus plants have a remarkable talent for storing carbon and greenhouse gases, reducing the damage to our ozone layer.
Find a community
Eco-anxiety can feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders, and you might feel like you want to tackle every problem at once. But sometimes, it’s good to remember that there’s a whole community of EcoVibers and other eco-conscious people out there to help, and ease your thoughts. This can also be a great way to share your sustainability wins with others - no one will appreciate a good compost heap quite like other eco-lovers!
A great initiative that you may not have heard of is Planet Patrol which combines fun activities like paddle boarding and canoeing with community litter picking. The perfect way to meet sustainability enthusiasts and find your tribe!
Connecting with the other people who try and make sustainable changes is a great reminder of the positive change that’s happening around you, and across the world. It might feel like your impact alone is hard to measure, but when you have a community behind you, you can see the difference far more easily.
Be a voice for change
Once you’ve come to terms with your anxiety, using it as motivation for action is a really powerful tool. If you’re stressed about the state of the world, and the problems that the future might hold, then being politically active is a great practical remedy to your anxiety.
Set yourself a goal to sign a petition every week to help a good cause, donate to your favourite charity on your birthday, and look for any eco-focused political events going on locally and put time aside to attend.
Don’t feel like there’s enough going on in your local community? You can change that! Why not contact your local MP, run to be a local MP or join your local council? We love to see people standing up for our planet and giving it a voice!
Feeling empowered to face your eco-anxiety head-on?
We love to hear it! We’ve covered why you might be feeling the way you’re feeling when it comes to the planet and some simple steps you can take to overcome this anxiety. From litter picking, to embracing the natural world around you, to finding your tribe, some simple changes can help you feel less alone and more optimistic.
Remember, that you’re not alone and if you are struggling with anxiety then seeking professional advice is also really important. Speak to your GP, or self-refer yourself for local NHS support. Your mental health is incredibly important and tackling your eco-anxiety may just be a small part of that.