Eco-anxiety and ecological grief: thoughts on what to do and how to cope

Eco-anxiety and ecological grief are very real concerns for people, and it’s no surprise why. Are you affected? I certainly am.

I’ve done quite a bit of reading and research on the subject lately, so I thought I’d compile a list of some of the coping tactics I find helpful. I hope you find them helpful as well. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Please remember, these are just some ideas, and this is just my personal opinion based on the research I’ve done. I am not a professional therapist in any way. If you’re suffering from anxiety or depression, please seek professional help.

Make individual changes.

Why? Because it makes a difference. Because you can inspire others. Because you can be on the right side of history. Because it’s the right thing to do.

Do what you can. Reduce plastic, buy less, choose secondhand, drive less, eat far less meat/dairy/seafood, preserve water… the list goes on and you probably know it.

But don’t beat yourself up. No one is perfect. Everyone faces obstacles, and it’s especially important to consider intersectionality here.

Demand bigger change.

Protest, write letters, volunteer, sign petitions, donate if you can, follow politics and educate yourself on the issues.

Individual action is necessary, but so is major change from above. We need to hold our government and companies accountable.

Think globally, act locally.

Sometimes the best change is being done locally, and that’s also a fantastic place to make an impact. Roll up your sleeves and dive in!

Research local organizations, plant community gardens, help with neighbourhood events, spend time in nature, look up rewilding projects, organize litter clean ups…again, the list is endless. The more you surround yourself with passionate people doing good, the bigger an impact you can make, and (very likely), the better you will feel.

Develop your skills.

Some experts believe that skill-building is a key grassroots way to build resilience and adapt in a changing, unpredictable world.

Interested? Consider:

  • Gardening/soil regeneration
  • Beekeeping
  • Preserving foods
  • Woodworking
  • Knitting/quilting/needlework/etc
  • Media/science/political literacy

Once more, the list goes on and on. Find something that you’re interested in or want to learn more about.

Act with love and compassion.

Environmentalism is kindness toward the earth—and I wholeheartedly believe that also includes kindness toward people. Now more than ever, we require generosity and empathy.

That includes yourself! Nurture your mental health and preserve your energy. Mindfulness and meditation, and self-care strategies are helpful. Seeking counselling can also work wonders—you’re not alone with these feelings! Eco-anxiety are increasingly common, and very natural reactions.

Find some core truths to remember.

These are some that I like:

  • There is lots of very good work being done.
  • We don’t need to convince or debate every person in order to act and make real changes. We can preserve that energy for better uses.
  • Nothing is guaranteed, and this isn’t the end of the story.
  • We’ve come together before to fight a common enemy. We can do it again.
  • The fruits of my work may not be seen in my lifetime.

What about you? What do you find helpful? How do you cope with eco-anxiety? What tactics have I forgotten?

LeahStellaPayne-Sig-BLK

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