Self care is quite the buzz word these days. The beauty industry is currently doing back-flips so you buy their face masks thinking they will improve your emotional state. “Live your best life” and all that. That’s not what this post is about. I’m talking about the deeply emotional work of taking care of yourself on a daily basis.
This becomes incredibly difficult when the work you’re doing involves trying to solve one of the world’s problems. For me, writing this blog, that means spreading the word to change the way people think about their role in the climate crisis. I want people to know that we all have opportunities to make an impact. I want to spread love for the earth and hope for the future.
But this is taxing. I research climate, waste, and conservation issues in a lot of my spare time, and I’ll be honest–most of the news is not good. People talk about the climate crisis like an impending apocalypse. And while I do whole-heartedly support instilling a sense of urgency, (because this IS an actual emergency, and it’s happening now) constantly absorbing that negative information is not healthy. This is why I’ve taken a step back from the blog in the past couple weeks. I know regular posting schedules are fashionable and all, but my well-being is more important to me.
I am also aware of the massive privilege I have to be able to take breaks from thinking about this crisis, and I understand that some of what I write in this post will not resonate with everyone. I write about climate and waste issues because I want to use the privilege I have (like having free time and a computer) to do some good. Below is a list of what I do to reset when I feel the need to do so.
Self Care for Environmental Activists
And everyone else freaked out by the climate crisis.
Take a break.
Step away from your computer, get off social media, and do something else. Give yourself some time off from worrying and stressing. For me this often means taking a day off from checking the news, or going on Instagram, where I follow a lot of bloggers and organizations that talk about environmental issues. On these days, I try to consume content that has nothing to do with the climate crisis, and do things that I’ve been meaning to do, like laundry, cleaning my room, running errands, etc. These kinds of activities clear my mind and lower my potential for anxiety in the future.
Being out in nature is super therapeutic. Getting to wander in natural places is my favorite way to experience them, even if I’m just walking around a park in the city. Make a point to spend time in the great outdoors: climb a mountain, go to the beach, go for a run on a trail, lay in a park and watch the clouds go by. Besides making you calmer and happier, being in nature helps you remember why it’s important to advocate for the planet.
Reward yourself for all your hard work! Pamper yourself by cooking your favorite meal (or dessert!), relaxing in a hot bath, or watching your favorite movie. Treat yourself to a good night’s sleep to set yourself up for a great following day. A little joy goes a long way toward improving your overall outlook and mood, and will put you in a better position to continue the important work you’re doing.
Talk it out.
Don’t keep your climate crisis worries to yourself. Talk to others about them, especially the things that freak you out the most. By expressing your concerns, you shift their weight to a shared burden instead of ones that you feel like you must bear by yourself. I’m not suggesting you ask other people to solve problems for you, but just talking to someone about them will make you feel better, and may provide new insights that will help you do your work.
I hope this helps someone out there get through their day. My proverbial office door is always open, and I’m happy to lend an ear if you need someone to chat with. Thank you, as always, for fighting for our planet.