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What is climate anxiety and how can you look after yourself?

This week is Great Big Green week, where lots of people come together to focus on the planet and especially climate change!

Whilst it’s great to see so much awareness being raised about the climate, it can also feel overwhelming, worrying and overall very negative. It’s really important to know and remember that you aren’t alone in feeling this way and many young people (and adults) feel the same way!

 

What is Climate Anxiety?

Climate Anxiety (also referred to as eco-anxiety) is a healthy and congruent response to what is happening – it is not something wrong with you as an individual but a normal response to big social, political and environmental problems! It can present as emotional, social or physical distress in the face of these crises.

Feelings of climate anxiety may also show by feeling an alarmed sense of aloneness and that you are the only one who is feeling this way.

But you aren’t alone in these feelings!
82% of young people in the UK are worried about the impact of the climate and 26% say it affects their daily functioning!

 

Looking After You

It’s important that we look after ourselves, especially when experiencing feelings of climate anxiety. Here are some tips and resources that may help you:

Circle on Concern Activity

This activity sheet is a great way to reflect on where you are putting your energy and worries and instead allow you to take on focus on what you can do and have an impact on. For example, you can’t change a company who uses single use plastic but you can find an alternative company who has a better impact on the planet and uses compostable materials!

Talk with friends or family

It’s likely that the people around you are feeling some of the same feelings of climate anxiety as you, so it might be a good idea to start talking to them about it! This doesn’t have to be talking directly about your feelings but maybe what your concerns are with the current climate we are living in. This may help you feel less alone but may also give you some hope!

Reflective Journaling

An easy journaling exercise for Climate Anxiety is to find a quiet or reflective space and put on a timer for 5 minutes and write down the negative thoughts and feelings you have around climate anxiety or the climate in general. Then put on a timer for 5 minutes and focus on all the positive thoughts and feelings you have about the climate, this could include things that there are to be hopeful about (our list below may help you get started)!

This is a great way to reflect on how you are feeling and can be used to do some other creative expressive activity such as drawing, painting, expression through dance/movement or poetry writing!

 

For more support and advice, please look at our Useful Links page.

 

Things to be Hopeful About

  • Increase in reusable items and bulk buying available both from independent shops and retailers such as Asda. Hopefully decreasing the amount of single use items and packaging used!
  • Increased support of local businesses – helping local people to thrive and less carbon emissions emitted
  •  Dedicated events like the Reading Climate Festival – making more people aware and encouraging others to take action
  • UK Government set the target to be ‘Net Zero’ by 2050 – read more about this here

 

Things You Can Do

  • Take time to understand and manage your feelings – use some of the tips and resources we shared about
  • Feel connected to earth and your feelings – this doesn’t mean you have to go and hug a tree
  • Become an activist  – Use your passion to do good and it can be extremely empowering. Even being aware of Climate Change and feeling your feelings, is activism and remember that all small actions count! – find out more about this here!
  • Engage with and support businesses, events, organisations and charities that align with your values
  • Engage in conversations with others, this could be friends, family or online!

Get Involved

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