This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
Anxiety and stress are common side effects of the state of our world in 2022. Climate change was a big thing on many people’s radars until 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Since then, the world has been flung into a state of chaos, and the climate crisis has been put in the back of many people’s minds.
For those who are passionate about sustainability and climate, we know the importance of a zero net carbon future. It can start to feel extremely overwhelming to see that no one is talking about these topics anymore, and it might feel like the world has given up.
Even when it feels pointless, activism is important. It changes the way the world works, and it makes our voices heard. If you’re feeling pessimistic, upset, anxious, or stressed about the state of the climate, here are a few ways to find calm in the midst of the (literal and figurative) storm.
1. Spend Time in Nature
Our planet is beautiful, and there’s more time than ever to spend outside appreciating the beauty of what it offers, especially during the pandemic, when it’s safer to be outside than in.
Nature also has profound positive effects on your mental health, according to several studies. If you find yourself feeling panicked, scared, upset, or angry, spend some time under some trees or near a river, where there aren’t any people or reminders of the stresses you face.
If you live in a big city, consider taking a weekend trip to a smaller town that allows you to be closer to nature. Or try to find a park with lots of trees and open spaces, where there aren’t as many people present. Just be sure to be safe.
2. Spend Time With Pets and Family
Being close to those you love is another excellent way to feel safe and get some relief from stress and anxiety. If you’re feeling pessimistic, reminding yourself of the positive people and pets in your life is essential to make sure you don’t get stuck in a pattern of feeling like there’s nothing good in the world.
After all, animals are some of the purest beings on the planet, and they never give you a reason to feel hurt or angry. They’ll always love you unconditionally. If you have a dog, even going for a brisk walk with them is a great way to get exercise and bond with your pet.
If you have a cat, their purring can even help soothe you, as vibrations are comforting for humans as well as animals.
Try to avoid spending time with family members who cause you stress or may incite conversations that will cause fear or anger.
3. Join a Protest
Sometimes the best way to take action against pessimism is to be optimistic and continue to fight hard for what you believe in. For some people, this is the best and most productive way to fight anxiety. For others, it may make it worse.
If being part of a cause and making a change would help you, look for protests or peaceful demonstrations in your area related to climate change. If there are none and you know enough people, consider planning your own!
Planning an event is another great way to get your mind focused on something other than the thoughts inside of it.
4. Volunteer for an Environmental Organization
If you prefer to do something more long-term with your anxiety about the state of the climate, joining an organization or volunteering for an environmental non-profit is an excellent idea.
These organizations often make long-term efforts to help the community be greener and more sustainable, and they donate to larger organizations and offer political support. You can even sign up to help educate the public on voter information and environmental rights.
Some organizations simply need volunteers to help with cleaning, organizational tasks, money, etc. No matter where your skills lie, there’s like a spot for you.
If you have the time and money, there are some sites online that allow you to volunteer in other countries for environmental-impact projects in exchange for food and housing. You just have to pay for your plane ticket and dedicate a certain amount of hours.
5. Change Your Sustainability Practices in Your Own Life
Opting for sustainable practices in your own life can make you feel like you’re making a change. Even if it feels useless or like one person can’t possibly do enough to change the world, every effort helps.
Not giving up on your goals and knowing that you’re doing something to help the environment is a great way to feel more optimistic.
6. See a Therapist
For some people, the anxiety, pessimism, and anger that comes with the state of the world during this time can be too much to handle on their own. That’s okay! These feelings are completely natural, and thousands, if not millions, of people feel the same way as you do.
Therapists are available online, as well as in person. However, if you’re looking to reduce emissions by not driving or using public transport, it’s always a possibility to see an online therapist from the comfort of your home! You can even utilize video chat, phone calls, or regular chat to speak to your therapist!
7. Stop Compulsively Checking the News
Finally, compulsively checking the news for new information on climate crises can often cause more anxiety and pessimism. If you are susceptible to these things and very sensitive, try to give yourself a break. Although it’s important to be informed, you’ll likely get more accurate information from scholarly sources, such as the ones on Google Scholar.
If you want to learn more about pessimism in general and how to combat it, check out BetterHelp’s advice column and blog today. You can also learn more about how to get help for common mental health conditions and symptoms so that you feel safe and ready to get back to your advocacy for the environment!