We all want the best for our children, and the unknowns that are facing us and them due to the rising climate crisis has led to a lot of parents struggling with Climate Anxiety. If you have had any anxious thoughts surrounding the future of the planet, and the issues we are dealing with now around the climate, please know that you are not alone. A YouGov survey by the Woodland Trust found that 63% of adults are worried about climate change and its results. So what can you do to manage this anxiety?
Talking About It
Talking about your anxious thoughts, and sharing your emotions with others can be incredibly helpful for some people. It is reassuring to know you are not alone, and finding people who feel the same and are anxious to change the future can offer the support you need. Talking to friends and family is the first port of call, but if you are meeting opposition and denial there, it might be time to look elsewhere to find the understanding you need to combat your anxious thoughts.
Local options for talking about your climate anxiety are:
Sustainable Starts Eco-Playgroup
Okay, shameless plug, but this is just why we set up the playgroup. To find community and support for our desire to change the future. Sustainable parenting takes you off the beaten path, and facing any opposition to it can definitely make some of us anxious - so being surrounded by people who get it is really helpful. We meet on Tuesdays 11-1, Big You Little You, drop-in, £2 donation for drinks.
Kath Allen Coaching
Kath is an environmentally conscious life coach who "works with people who want to calmly and confidently make their own rules for success, fiercely follow their heart and take clear steps towards their vision for the planet and their family, whilst taking exceptional care of themselves." She can help talk you through how you're feeling and put you on track towards living the life you want to live, finding balance between joy and climate action. Kath offers free 15 minute consultations to get to know her and find out how coaching could work for you.
Find her on Facebook here.
You can self refer to several counselling services around Merseyside if you feel your anxiety is impacting your life negatively. Examples of relevant services are Talk Liverpool and The Venus Centre. You can also talk to your GP. With these services, it's important to find a therapist who understands climate anxiety and won't try and dismiss your concerns.
Being proactive in the fight against climate change can support your mental health - knowing you are making a difference can really help settle feelings of despair and hopelessness that often accompany climate anxiety.
Joining a Climate Activism group
Climate activism groups take action through campaigning politicians and local counsellors, protests (in various creative ways - Mother's Rebellion did a Discobedience dance protest at Eurovision recently!), meetings and petitions. There is usually no risk of being arrested and these groups can make a huge difference. Raising awareness of issues through these methods can be very effective and bring us closer to the 25% social tipping point we need.
Local groups include:
Writing to your MP
Making sure your MP is aware of your stance on issues means they're more likely to vote the way you want them to in parliament!
You can find your MP here: https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP
And more information on how to write effectively to your MP here:
Making Sustainable Changes
Changing the way you live to make your carbon footprint smaller is a great thing to do anyway, and can help you feel productive, and hopefully more optimistic. Checking out your footprint on Giki Zero can give you ideas of where to start and you gain points for making changes!
This section is a bit big for just a paragraph (next blog post decided!) but reducing your food waste, eating less meat, choosing lower carbon travel options and reducing your waste generally are good areas to focus on. Getting your workplace involved in making sustainable changes can also be extremely effective.
This is definitely not us recommending reading every article about the impact of climate change on our planet. Our brains are not designed to handle that much information, especially not when it's largely negative at the moment.
But if you can find positive news about actions people are taking, or wins we have had in the fight, that can be really beneficial.
Here are a few places to find positive climate news:
There are loads more out there - let us know any you love in the comments!
Looking After Yourself
Last, but definitely not least, make sure you're taking care of yourself. Often easier said than done if you're looking after small people, but exercising, eating healthily and taking time to do the things that make you you are all crucial to maintaining a healthy mind.
Included under this heading is Take A Break. If you need to take a break from activism, getting informed, even any of your eco swaps, that's okay. Protecting your mental health for the long haul is much more important. There are others out there who can hold the baton while you take time. Come back when you're ready!
We hope these tips have been useful! If you have anything else that has helped you manage any climate anxiety you've experienced, let us know in the comments.